New facility held ground-breaking ceremony during Talent Harvest Festival
By Kayla Heffner for Ashland.news
A local nonprofit in Talent is expanding into a new space thanks to funding from grants and community donations.
Talent Maker City held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, Oct. 7, at a property purchased in one of the areas devastated by the Almeda Fire.
Talent Maker City is an innovative space focusing on providing hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) learning for kids and adults. The goal is to create a place that fosters a more prosperous and resilient community with creative hands-on STEAM-based learning.
State Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, played a big role in helping secure funding for the new nonprofit space and attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Well, I think Talent Maker City is kind of the soul of Talent in some ways,” she said. “Talent Maker City is an entity that brings together kiddos and small business that really centers on sustainability that listens to the diverse voices of the community and embraces the diverse voices of the community. To sort of have all of those values coalesce in one place where people can be together and get a sense of themselves in doing projects. This new facility in Talen is going to be a centerpiece for that.”
Talent Maker City is a makerspace teaching various workshops on woodshops, ceramics, technology, fiber arts, and screen printing.
Since the pandemic, the nonprofit has outgrown its current space, so efforts were made to secure additional funding and build the new facility.
“You know when people come by with donations of wood or tools or any equipment a lot of times we have to turn them down because we don’t have the capacity for the interest we have right now,” said Piper Tamler, the lead workshop instructor at Talent Maker City.
Alli French, executive director at Talent Maker City, echoed this sentiment, saying classes are at capacity and the nonprofit has three storage units packed to the brim with additional supplies for future programs.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held during the Talent Harvest Festival where hundreds of people gathered to see the groundbreaking and enjoy artisan crafts, food carts, and art booths set up downtown.
Talent Maker City secured $1.8 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), $100,500 from the Oregon Community Foundation and $58,400 in community donations so far.
Talent Maker City is hoping to raise an additional $2.5 million dollars through grants and donations.
The new state-of-the-art, 8,000-square-foot space will be located at 100 W. Valley View Road.
Talent Maker City’s new space is a big step towards revitalizing downtown Talent and creating a STEAM hub that will serve the entire community in Southern Oregon.
Journalist Kayla Heffner lives in Talent. Email her at email@example.com.