When a Challenge Becomes an Opportunity

AARP Awards “Challenge Grants” to 159 Communities Across the Country

Three Oregon communities will get a chance to spark new solutions for livable communities thanks to grants from AARP. “AARP Community Challenge Grants fund projects that can inspire change in areas such as transportation, open spaces, housing, smart cities and more, said AARP State Director Ruby Haughton-Pitts. “It’s exciting to see the creative ways cities and nonprofits can use some seed money to enliven their communities.”

AARP awarded grants totaling nearly $1.6 million across 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. “We’re happy to announce the Oregon winners which include the cities of Salem and Talent and the nonprofit Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon,” Haughton-Pitts said.

Talent Maker City will create innovative programs that include older adults in intergenerational learning opportunities. Building on City of Talent's status as an officially designated "Bee City," the program will have a fun pollinator theme and support proliferation of and interest in pollinator gardens in the city. Participants will learn introductory carpentry, ceramic and screen printing skills, while gathering in a vibrant downtown Talent makerspace facility with other curious minds of all ages.

"Talent Maker City has been offering intergenerational workshops in Southern Oregon since 2016, as part of our commitment to collaborative learning opportunities for curious minds of all ages. We are thrilled to have AARP's generous support of our inclusive effort to cultivate an age-friendly community in Talent, Oregon through hands-on creativity." Ryan Wilcoxson, Executive Director.

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Class of 2018-2019: New Bridge High School Screen Printing

Students held in Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility in Grants Pass, Oregon are learning the art of screen printing. These three students who have previously made poor choices in life are taking every opportunity that is given to them. Screen printing has taught them the process on how to create designs on digital software and transferring those images to a final product.
They have many projects coming their way as they continue learning this art of screen printing. The goal is to provide youth with knowledge and skills to become productive members of their communities when they depart from our facility.

Nonprofit Partnership Broadens Students’ Horizons

Nonprofit Partnership Broadens Students’ Horizons

Students at New Bridge High School at Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility have had a “STEM-ulating” opportunity this school year, thanks to a community partnership.

Talent Maker Citya nonprofit that specializes in workshops surrounding STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), has brought weekly courses to youth that not only teach them about a variety of STEM subjects,  but introduces them to potential careers.

Press Release: Talent Urban Renewal Agency Approve Inclusion of Makerspace


August 25, 2017, Talent, Oregon.

On August 16, 2017, the Talent Urban Renewal Agency (“TURA”) Board unanimously approved inclusion of a makerspace facility as one of the final eight “selection criteria” for developers to consider when creating a vision for the 4.23-acre Gateway Project located at the corner of West Valley View Road and Highway 99, at the eastern gateway to historic Downtown Talent, Oregon.

TURA’s Request for Expression of Interest (“RFEI”) seeks developer proposals for “a compelling vision that will ultimately spur further redevelopment in Downtown Talent with an active, pedestrian-friendly mix of uses, spaces and structures.” Talent citizens, including representatives from Talent Maker City, (“TMC”) provided ongoing community input that helped shape the RFEI selection criteria.
Along with the makerspace facility, which will offer community access to a variety of tools and resources for creative projects and learning new skills, the other selection criteria for this project include: mixed use, multi-story housing (to include affordable rentals, senior housing, and/or workforce and “missing middle” housing); sustainable design, open spaces and pedestrian connections; and generally “embracing and enhancing Talent’s distinct culture – a place that cherishes its history, its beautiful natural setting, its agricultural heritage, and the arts.”* 

Talent Maker City is a nonprofit organization serving Southern Oregon as a hub for creative, technical, and economic innovation. TMC’s concept of community service is built on the foundation of creative expression, grassroots economic sustainability, and career readiness.

Founding TMC Board member Ryan Wilcoxson praised TURA’s unanimous adoption of the selection criteria for the Gateway RFEI, stating in regard to the makerspace facility, “We’re one big step closer to building a creative development center in downtown Talent, which will offer the space, tools, and resources to better equip our community with the creative and technical skills that provide for economic resilience, self-reliance, and a pathway to participate in our rapidly changing global economy.”

Since its inception, 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 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 responding to feedback from current and potential supporters.

Talent Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood, who also serves on the TMC Board and as Board Chair for TURA, voiced her support for the TURA Board’s unanimous inclusion of a makerspace in the RFEI selection criteria. “I’m thrilled with TURA’s unanimous support to include a makerspace as an element of the Gateway project and, in doing so, addressing a key component of the Talent Comprehensive Plan strategy for Economic Development. This decision affirms that Talent Maker City is a priority for the City of Talent,” said Ayers-Flood. “I can’t wait to see how the makerspace breathes new life to the heart of our revitalized downtown.”

TMC is one of the 70 (of 987 initial applicants) finalists for the ArtPlace America 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund. If awarded, the ArtPlace grant and other funding sources will be go towards capital costs, including construction and equipment for the makerspace.

Talent Maker City can be found online at http://www.talentmakercity.org or on facebook.com/talentmakercity and Instagram @talentmakercity

*The full RFEI can be found here: http://www.cityoftalent.org/SIB/files/Talent_RFEI_8-23-17.pdf

For TMC inquiries, contact Board Chair: Ryan Wilcoxson 541.219.2729 or ryan@talentmakercity.org


Talent Urban Renewal Agency Finalizes Gateway RFEI, Will Buy Mei Sum Property

Talent Urban Renewal Agency is moving forward with the purchase of the building and property currently occupied by Mei Sum Chinese Restaurant. The move consolidates the 4.23 acre property at the corner of West Valley View and Highway 99 in Talent. TURA also unanimously voted to include a makerspace facility as one of eight selection criteria in the Requests for Expressions of Interest being circulated to area developers.


Today, ArtPlace America announced the 70 projects that it will consider for its 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund. And Talent Maker City is one of them!

Each of the finalists have proposed an opportunity for arts and culture to help address a community development challenge or opportunity related to agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health, housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

These 70 projects represent 7% of the 987 initial applications that ArtPlace reviewed.

The complete list of 2017 finalists can be found here.

A complete list of our National Creative Placemaking Fund investments to date can be found here.


Dozens gather to support a maker space project in new Talent development | KTVL

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Another round of rousing public support for a TMC's downtown makerspace, at the Talent Urban Renewal Agency's open call for public input on development concepts at the Gateway property.