Frequently Asked Questions

What is Talent Maker City?

The future belongs to those who can imagine it. Talent Maker City (TMC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Talent, serving Southern Oregon as a regional hub for creative and economic innovation. TMC is working to build and staff a bustling makerspace brimming with creative energy in Talent’s downtown district that will offer the space, tools, and resources to better equip our community with the skills to participate in a rapidly changing global economy.

In the meantime, we’re serving our community and supporting local makers and business by offering fun and interesting skills-based workshops and classes in our current makerspace (opening Fall 2018 at 304 Main Street) and in various locations around the Rogue Valley.

What is a makerspace?

Already popular in many larger cities throughout the country, makerspaces are do-it-yourself places where people can gather to create, learn, and share ideas. The makerspace membership model is similar to that of a fitness gym. Instead of treadmills and weights, however, a makerspace offers access to a wide array of tools, technology, and space in which to create meaningful art and develop do-it-yourself skills. Further, instead of personal trainers and yoga classes, makerspaces offer training and support for any number of creative and technical endeavors, from throwing a clay pot, to experienced guidance in prototyping an invention, to developing a sound business plan, to marketing and selling that invention.

A makerspace is a diverse education and economic development facility that:

  • Provides access to a wide variety of tools and equipment (from traditional tools like lathes and kilns, to emerging technologies like 3-D printers) for building, creating and prototyping;

  • Provides collaborative space for individuals and teams to create and share projects;

  • Offers a social place for people with different skills and common interests to share ideas;

  • Provides local education and career pathways through economic and workforce development in the form of hands-on workshops, from welding and woodworking to programming and small scale manufacturing; and

  • Provides an open environment for intergenerational and cross-cultural learning, innovation and creative expression.

For those wanting to learn more about makerspaces in general, here’s a fantastic recent radio interview featuring Kelley Roy from Portland’s premier makerspace, Art Design Portland (ADX). Kelley is a consultant for Talent Maker City. For additional resources about the maker movement, please see our last FAQ here.

What kinds of tools does the makerspace have?

Lots! And we’re acquiring more every day. Someday in the not-too-distant future we’ll have a wide variety of tools from hand planes to lasers cutters, sewing machines to 3D printers. If you’ve got any special requests, donations, or ideas, email us! We can’t guarantee everything for everyone, but we’ll do our best.

What are TMC’s Mission and Vision?

  • Our Mission: Talent Maker City is an inclusive, nonprofit organization bringing environmentally responsible, sustainable economic growth to the region by providing the facilities and resources to serve Southern Oregon as a hub for technical innovation, creative entrepreneurship, and STEAM-oriented collaborative learning for curious minds of all ages.

  • Our Vision: Talent Maker City’s vision is to establish a community-accessible, environmentally responsible maker ecosystem that removes barriers and inspires artists, makers, and manufacturers to create, market, and sell their goods.

What is a “Maker City” and how did Talent become one?

October 2015: With a grant from the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) the City of Talent’s Community Development Department brought Illana Preuss from Recast City to Talent to evaluate the City’s economic potential. Pruess gave nationwide examples of maker microbusinesses attracting increased regional interest by repositioning real estate in response to changing market demand. Most of the core group now involved with TMC attended this presentation and began to imagine using public-private partnerships to revitalize Talent. (Pruess’ similar presentation in Grants Pass can be found here.)

March 2016: Against long odds, Etsy.com (the global online retailer of handcrafted goods) selected a group from Talent, along with 12 other North American cities from among 126 applicant cities to participate in its inaugural MakerCities Summit. The Talent City Council voted to pay travel expenses to send a planning commissioner and the Mayor to attend the Summit in Brooklyn, New York, to learn how to promote the City’s economic development.

May 2016: During the intensive two-day MakerCities Summit, Etsy guided workshops and brought in a diverse lineup of speakers to espouse the idea that there’s untapped opportunity for local municipalities to engage and support their local makers to ultimately change the way we all create, buy, and sell goods.

By far the smallest city selected to participate in the MakerCities Summit, the Talent contingent returned home on a mission to adapt what we learned in Brooklyn to fit the needs of own community and rebrand Talent as a regional hub for creative, technical, and cultural innovation.

August 2016: The City of Talent approved its 20-year Comprehensive Plan supporting development of a maker ecosystem to support economic growth and educational and cultural opportunities by supporting development of a makerspace and business incubator in Talent to help local artisans and small-scale manufacturers grow. (Objective 4.3 and 4.3a: Economy Element, City of Talent Comprehensive Plan.)

December 2016: Talent Maker City was formed in response to the needs and objectives expressed in the Comprehensive Plan. The original group formally adopted Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and policies, installed its Board of Directors and was recognized by the IRS as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Where is Talent’s makerspace?

On July 1, 2018, TMC moved into a 3700 sq ft leased commercial space in downtown Talent! (Next door to the Grotto, across from the Pump House). After the initial 90 days of renovations (painting, carpet removal, sealing concrete, updating light fixtures and other electrical, plumbing and ventilation renovations) we plan to be open for business in Fall 2018 and be in this space for about 2-3 years until we build our bigger, purpose-built “forever” home in Talent.

What are TMC’s Services?

Our concept of community service is built on the makerspace platform driving creative expression, grassroots economic sustainability, and career readiness. TMC currently offers the following services, which will be greatly expanded once our fully equipped and staffed makerspace is open for business:

  • Membership-based access to tools and space: TMC provides a collaborative workspace priced at different membership levels, for makers to create in space they don’t otherwise have, on otherwise inaccessible equipment, alongside other creatives.

  • Skills-based education: We will continue to develop and deliver hands-on programs, in collaboration with local school districts and community colleges, to offer early exposure to STEAM-based skills that promote vocational training enrollment and help build a more qualified local workforce.

  • Economic development: TMC will serve as a launchpad for new and established maker microbusinesses, from starting up to scaling local operations.

What has TMC been working on?

Since its formal inception in December 2016, TMC has worked to continually assess and ensure broad and sustained community support for its work, beyond a small group of founding creatives. TMC has laid the groundwork for its success by building diverse capacity in its leadership, establishing a strong network of partnerships in local government, industry and education sectors, designing community needs assessments, and mindfully adapting to feedback from current and potential supporters.

  • TMC is currently collaborating with our local government (Talent Urban Renewal Agency and the City of Talent) to jointly develop an innovative approach to meet the needs that the community has articulated (and the City has codified in its 20-year plan for economic development) in constructing a makerspace in the heart of a revitalized downtown district.

  • TMC has also built strong relationships with regional education organizations to support and expand Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) proficiency, both in and out of the classroom.

  • In addition to curriculum development, TMC has been actively partnering with local and statewide education and business organizations to develop programming to guide artists and makers in bringing their goods to market.

  • As a result of our early successes, TMC now consistently partners with established organizations such as ScienceWorks, Rogue Climate, Southern Oregon Education District, the Talent Chamber of Commerce and others. TMC was a headlining contributor in the 2017 Rogue Valley Mini Maker Fair. In the Spring of 2017, we were a headlining contributor providing a children’s educational craft tent at the Rogue Valley Earth Day (RVED) festival. For the 2018 event, we have increased our involvement by becoming the fiscal sponsor for RVED, while again running the hands-on educational craft tent.

  • We also are integrated in just about every other community event, such as hosting a Fix-It-Fair, participating in Clean Energy Alley at the Talent Harvest Festival, Day of the Dead Race Event, as well as hosting our first annual Holiday Maker Market and planning for our second Maker Market.

What is STEAM?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. You've probably heard it referred to as STEM is the context of education and industry. We like to include Art to better represent our integrated approach to cross-discipline exposure and collaboration. 

How can I get involved?
There are lots of ways to get involved! Volunteering is a great way to lend a hand and get familiar with what TMC does and who we serve. We welcome volunteers for everything from collecting signatures for a petition to leading maker workshops. Another way to get involved is through donations. Money, tools, materials, your valuable time, we’ll gladly take what we can get!

Does TMC do workshops?
Yes! We offer skills-based workshops at a variety of locations. A schedule of upcoming workshops and events can be found here. If you’re interested in leading a workshop in your field of expertise, let’s talk!

What is creative placemaking?
“Creative placemaking seeks to help communities develop a stronger sense of identity, building on native cultural assets to create more cohesive, healthy, and resilient places. The deliberate integration of arts and culture into community development work brings arts organizations and artists to the table, helping to design land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies.” Read more at Arts.gov.

How can I Learn More about the Maker Movement?
Below are some excellent resources to get you you started and inspired!

City Lab (The Atlantic Feb. 2017)  - What Should Cities Make?
Informative article that talks of the need for not only makerspace but the network of small batch manufacturers. While the article focuses on urban makerspaces, the concepts can easily be adapted/scaled to Rural as we take into account the size of Talent. Read more ->

National League of Cities (NLC website)
Discovering your City’s Maker Economy (By the National League of Cities, Etsy, Recast City and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance). Go to PDF ->

Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA website)

Nation of Makers (website)

Make Magazine (website)

“Made by Memphis”
The Mayor and Council in Memphis are particularly invested in the maker movement as it contributes to economic growth. Read more here ->

Recast City (website)
In December of 2015, Recast City's founder, Illana Pruess, evaluated Talent and presented her suggested strategy of revitalizing our downtown district by encouraging creative businesses to engage in small-scale manufacturing to create more local and regional interest.

Ilana Pruess TEDx Talk – The Economic Power of Great Places 

Biz503 Podcast Season 3 Episode 5: Do it Yourself – Maker Spaces
(Featuring Talent Maker City consultant Kelley Roy from Portland’s ADX)

Maker City, A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities (View PDF)
Peter Hirshberg Maker Media, Inc; 1 edition (October 17, 2016)

Etsy.com – Maker Cities
Where it all began for Talent Maker City! 

Crowdsourced Atlas of Community Innovation Spaces (Map)


Have more questions that need answers? Contact us here.