Maker Day


As part of the Creative City Challenge’s summer-long programming, there are three themed activity days: Play Day, July 19; Discovery Day,, August 16; and Maker Day, September 13.

Presidential Proclamation

Earlier this year, President Obama declared a National Day of Making.

“Our Nation is home to a long line of innovators who have fueled our economy and transformed our world. … Today, more and more Americans are gaining access to 21st century tools, from 3D printers and scanners to design software and laser cutters. … I am committed to helping Americans of all ages bring their ideas to life. … This event celebrates every maker — from students learning STEM skills to entrepreneurs launching new businesses to innovators powering the renaissance in American manufacturing.  … Today, let us continue on the path of discovery, experimentation, and innovation that has been the hallmark not only of human progress, but also of our Nation’s progress. … I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills.”

Maker Day

In a similar spirit, Maker Day on the Convention Center Plaza presents a range of creative making projects from outdoor yoga to sign making to making dumplings to knitting. Join us on the Plaza for the last official day of the Creative City Challenge, Saturday, September 13, from 10 am – 4 pm. All events are free and fun.


James Airhart and Elizabeth Ryan, Butterfly Yarn Bombing

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 7.18.12 AMThe butterfly has inspired cultures and individuals around the world for centuries, sparking artistry and insight as a universal symbol. Butterflies are also important to ecological balance, so it’s fitting that at Maker Day you can be part of a collective butterfly yarn-bombing of the Balancing Ground structure. Come pick out a knit butterfly, “tag” it with what keeps you balanced, and tie it to Balancing Ground. Throughout the day, the swarm will grow until the posts are covered in butterflies. Want to make your own to hang up? We’ll have a mini making station during the event, where you can crank out a butterfly or learn to crochet a granny square to help cover the benches inside the structure. Already know how to knit or crochet? Help us build a supply of butterflies and granny squares! Email for patterns and info.

Beatrix*JAR, Let’s Make Some Sounds!

beatrixjarYOU are the STAR in Beatrix*JAR! Sing! Play AM radios paired with flash cameras! Activate modified children’s toys! DJ with samples and electronic beats! Sound Art Duo Beatrix*JAR take audience participation to a new level with a hands-on audio playground where you make the sounds! Noted for their unique musical performances and non traditional approach to sound art, real life couple Jacob Roske (JAR) and Bianca Pettis (Beatrix), draw their inspiration from the Fluxus Art movement and artists like John Cage and Jean Michel Basquiat. Beatrix*JAR self-released three albums of note: I Love You Talk Bird (2005), Golden Fuzz (2007) and Art*Star (2010) and are recipients of a 2010 Archibald Bush Fellowship in Media Arts. The duo has been featured at the Hammer Art Museum (LA), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Wexner Art Center (Columbus, Ohio) and the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore).

Molly Balcom Raleigh and Emily Stover, Dumpling House

1375837_1422935824585544_1702213600_nThe simple act of preparing food with friends is a powerful way to share history, build knowledge, and foster strong relationships in a community of people. As both neighbors and artists working with food as a social medium, we often find ourselves sharing a table and sharing ideas for places where people connect through cooking. One winter day over baguette sandwiches, we wondered what it would be like to steam dumplings in an enclosed space, and suddenly the Dumpling House emerged as a collaborative project. As a part of Maker Day, we will use our complementary artistic strengths to create a space that invites many levels of participation—from passers-by seeing Dumpling House as an intriguing design element on the plaza, to visitors spending time inside learning, making, and eating dumplings. We see power in reflecting on the meditative quality of a simple food craft while immersed in a surprising sensory environment.

Gorilla Yogis

1821320_origGorilla Yogis is a movement, a migration to yoga beyond studio walls. Gorilla Yogis gather to practice urban jungle yoga in unexpected, offbeat places. In parks, on street corners, in museums, art galleries, at cafes, in restaurants, in music venues, on barges on the Mississippi River, on rooftop decks, on farms, in barns, in lofts, abandoned spaces, baseball fields. It’s yoga out of captivity. Each month we host donation based yoga events where we raise money for organizations that are doing hard work to make this jungle an awesome place to live. Gorilla Yogis will take over Convention Center Plaza from 10-11 am on Maker Day, Saturday, September 13.

Peter Haakon Thompson, Mobile Sign Shop

18_p1010571The Mobile Sign Shop is inspired by the vernacular of cabin name signs found in Northern Minnesota. At the beginning of roads leading to a lake with cabins, there can often be found a collection of wooden/engraved/painted/ handmade signs bearing the names of residents i.e. The Thompson’s in the case of my grandparents. During Maker Day the Mobile Sign Shop will host a sign making workshop. Participants will be able to create a sign with their name, last name or first name or names for entire extended families. Much like the cabin name signs, personalization is encouraged and facilitated. The Mobile Sign Shop is housed in a trailer that provides an attention getting location stocked with sign making supplies and information. This trailer is not a standard utility trailer, but recognizable as a location for activity, painted brightly, with flags and a pop-up shade/weather awning. Inserting a non-standard, incongruous tool into public space, brings out people’s curiosity and willingness to engage, leading to more potential participants. The workshop will provide materials, paint and brushes etc. as well as assistance in carving out letters with a router.

Soozin Hirschmugl, sPARKit Mobile Unit Puppet Make and Take

sPARKitCome  one come all  join us at the SPARKit  for a special rod puppet make and take !  Come learn about hinges, brads, and accordion folds and create a unique rod puppet that you can take home to stage your own show!  sPARKit is a mobile camper/pop-up park with all of the amenities needed to turn a green, common space into a celebratory community conversation space to “spark” conversations in a fun, family-friendly environment.

Wil Natzel, Wearable Hats and Corrugation

Corrugation Maker DayA series of modular whimsical hats designed by artist Wil Natzel exclusively will be given away during Maker Day. Come help assemble your own hat creations and watch a video demonstration of his specialized CNC cutting machine as it fabricates hat parts. Have fun as you make your own architectural follies, using custom mass produced die cut cardboard circles with interlocking slots. Learn how structures are made and assembled to form habitable spaces while discovering your bodies proportion to space. Wil Natzel is a fiscal year 2014 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota throughout a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Chiaki O’Brien, SAORI, Presented by Textile Center

textilecenterWhat is SAORI? SAORI is a Japanese art form and weaving style. The four Saori principles: consider the differences between a machine and a human being; be bold and adventurous; let’s look out through eyes that shine; and inspire one another, and everyone in the group. We will lead you through this ”freestyle” weaving process on a SAORI original floor loom. Try your hands at this fun color blending, creative, and expressive weaving style. SAORI is joyful and easy to learn for all ages. 1 pm to 4 pm.

Now celebrating its 20th year, Textile Center is a national center where people come to learn, create, share, and be inspired by the beauty of fiber art.

Play From Scratch

Play-from-Scratch-2Roll up your sleeves and start inventing with YOXO, the hit construction toy from Minnesota-based green toy company Play from Scratch! YOXO transforms paper towel tubes into dragonflies, turns cereal boxes into robots and helps remind kids (and adults) that everyone is creative. Make your creation, take your picture to share and then take apart and recycle your invention! YOXO® (“yock-so”), made from Minnesota-based toy company Play from Scratch®, is an exciting new eco-awesome construction toy made from sustainable materials and designed to inspire relentlessly creative kids with colorful Y, O and X links that connect in thousands of ways and attach to recyclable stuff around your house (like paper towel tubes and cereal boxes) to build anything you can imagine! High-density YOXO cores are made from 100% recycled fiber and are recyclable, made with soy-based inks and water-based coatings and made in the USA. YOXO links are both recyclable and designed to withstand years of creative play. For more information visit

Justin Schell, Fruit Orchestra

fruitorchUsing a laptop and a MaKey MaKey, which uses high resistance switching to detect when you’ve made a connection even through materials that aren’t very conductive, participants can make music by tapping, shaking, and hitting pieces of fruit. This interactive experience will offer a different tactile way for making sound and music from unexpected sources.

Susan L. Solarz, Make Your Own Musical PVC Chair

Musical benchPublic benches don’t have to be boring. Just ask sculptor Susan L. Solarz who calls her work “useful art.”  Solarz’s Musical PVC Bench functions as outdoor seating and can be played like a musical instrument. Striking the tops of the PVC pipes with one of the attached paddles, a hand, or even a flip flop forces the air through the pipe quickly, producing a musical sound. On Maker Day, stop by Solarz’s table to make your own useful art. Learn how to solvent weld as you build a beautiful and comfortable stool from PVC pipe. You can also make a paddle or just use your hands to play your very own “musical chair.” All materials provided. More about Solarz, including a video of her bench, on MPR’s State of the Arts blog. Learn more about the maker space where Solarz makes her art here.

Dr. Ann Marie Thomas and Engineering Students from the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas, Squishy Circuits

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.31.34 AMCome sculpt your own working electrical circuits using Squishy Circuits! Learn the fundamentals of electrical circuitry using colorful, squishy, conductive and insulating play dough. More information here.

Presented by

The Creative City Challenge, a competition for Minnesota artists and architects to create a destination artwork. which acts as a sociable and participatory platform for summer-long onsite activities, is presented by the Minneapolis Convention Center and Arts, Culture and Creative Economy Program of the City of Minneapolis and Meet Minneapolis in collaboration with Northern