In 2014 I joined with 5 other local creatives to found MakeICT, Wichita’s first Makerspace. MakeICT has grassroots beginnings, initially starting as weekly conversations in The Donut Whole. Soon we were renting 250 sq. ft inside Bluebird Arthouse in the Delano district and supplying our own equipment, bootstrapping the beginnings of a Makerspace. We applied for then received 501(c)3 status.
MakeICT took giant leap forward when my wife Vanessa worked with the group, applying for and receiving a grant of over $100,000 from the Knight Foundation. Currently MakeICT boasts more than 400 members in 22,000 sq. ft of space.
Wichita now has three Makerspaces, each catering to a different crowd. In this mix MakeICT has stayed true to its roots: a community space for hobbyists and creatives. Instead of enterprise-grade equipment that can only be operated by trained staff, MakeICT offers training that opens up their equipment to everybody. MakeICT works hard to keep its dues at a price point where almost anybody can join and offers scholarships to those where price might still be a barrier. The space is completely volunteer run with members actively proposing classes and offering training to others freely.