Maker Faire Wants You: TED lecturer Dale Dougherty Visits Metro Grand Rapids

Dale Dougherty, a popular lecturer on the TED series and editor/publisher of MAKE magazine, will be visiting Grand Rapids on Tuesday to see firsthand what he has only heard about so far:  the striking growth of the region's tech-design-arts community.
And he wants to meet you.

Dougherty will be holding a town hall gathering from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the main floor of the GRid70 building downtown (70 Ionia SW) to meet inventors, artists, designers, musicians -- anyone who views the creative process as both work and play -- and extend to them an invitation to participate in the Maker Faire Detroit 2011 in July.

When a nationally recognized figure such as Dougherty visits Grand Rapids just to find out what's going on here, it can mean only one thing: our reputation has preceded us.

We have arrived.

So let's pack the room, and live up to the image we've created that West Michigan is pulsing with creative energy.
That, and consider sharing your talent at Maker Faire Detroit, a wonderful celebration of the do-it-together spirit held on the weekend of July 30-31 at the Henry Ford Museum. It's free to share your project and tips with thousands of people at the fair if you are accepted as an exhibitor.

Everything is fair game: robots, textile arts and crafts, vintage computers and game systems, rockets, food and beverage makers, fix-it-yourself projects, electric and human-powered vehicles, music performance and participation, metal casting, green tech, puppets and kites, biology/biotech and chemistry projects. If you've made something, the folks at MAKE magazine are all ears.
As an exhibitor last year, I know firsthand about the playful way that Maker Faire Detroit celebrates art and invention, everything from an 18-foot-tall statue of Red Green made from duct tape that shoots flames out of its mouth every time it belches -- just like the real Red Green -- to a Twinkie-mobile that launches the pastries from an air gun.

For anyone who has ever wanted to compare notes with someone else on how to solve a problem, the DIT spirit that permeates the event is tremendous.

We are blessed in Michigan to have one of only three Maker Faires held throughout the country directly sponsored by MAKE magazine, which sends a small army of staff to put on this amazing event. The magazine has been holding a Maker Faire the past six years in San Mateo, Calif. with great success, and they passed over Chicago and Boston to hold the first in the Midwest last year in Motown.
Maker Faire Detroit is taking applications now online at Call for Makers, and the deadline for submitting your idea or project is June 1.

Matthew Gryczan is West Michigan editor of Crain's Michigan Business, a contributing writer for MAKE magazine, and principal of SciTech Communications LLC. He demonstrated his gyrocar and hydraulic ram at the Maker Faire Detroit last year
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