Governor Charlie Baker visited Make-It Springfield on Tuesday December 11, 2018 to learn about future plans for expanding the busy CAFE supported downtown makerspace. Make-It Springfield was started as a one-month “pop-up” community maker space by UMass Extension Assistant Professor Michael DiPasquale in collaboration with MassDevelopment, a state affiliated economic development agency. The “one-month” experiment to provide creative arts and maker activities to the community has now been open for over two years!
During his visit, Governor Baker took a tour of Make-It Springfield and participated in a round table discussion that included a dozen local artists, makers, and representatives of nearby art and cultural organizations. DiPasquale explained to the Governor that the maker space has had a positive impact on the neighborhood, with art, sewing and 3D printing workshops attracting hundreds of community members each month. UMass students are also involved, giving workshops and teaching 4H afterschool classes in collaboration with UMass Extension’s Lauren DuBois.
DiPasquale has been conducting research and extension related outreach in Springfield for almost 10 years. In addition to Make-It Springfield, he also heads up the “UMass Design Center in Springfield” a collaboration with the City of Springfield Office of Planning and Economic Development and the UMass Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. UMass students and faculty in conjunction with The Design Center work on land use and urban design projects that address green infrastructure and sustainable planning in Springfield and other western Massachusetts communities.