Maker Madness Hits New York With Maker Faire and Next Top Makers

Video still from the Maker Faire website.

Is it too soon to declare 2014 the year “makers” took over the New York art world? First the Museum of Arts and Design’s introduced their “NYC Makers” biennial (see “The Museum of Arts and Design Hopes a Biennial Will Help Brighten Things Up“), and now Queens is hosting not one but two maker-themed events: the fifth annual Maker Faire in Corona Park this weekend, and tonight’s kick-off event for the five-month long citywide Next Top Makers Pop Up Tour.

For the Maker Faire, a self-described hybrid of science and county fairs that dubs itself the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth,” the event brings together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, performers, and artists. Visitors can expect a fascinating mix of art, robots, science projects, and inventions, highlighting DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects.

Next Top Makers promotes the local development and manufacture of innovative technology, hardware, and design with the aim of encouraging design-based start-ups to set up shop in New York. Tonight’s free event features an array of tech-savvy designers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs, plus “farm-to-table-food,” beer, and bubbly. Six Next Top Makers who have been selected to participate in a yearlong Studio Incubation program will be named during the Maker Faire, and additional pop-up events will take place in Staten Island (October), the Bronx (November), Manhattan (December), and Brooklyn (January).

The maker madness may have come to a boil this year, but it has been building for quite some time. The four-year-old Maker Faire has become so popular that Community Board 4 is begging that next year’s event be moved from the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science to the larger one at nearby Citi Field to help ease the increased traffic and gridlock brought on by the art and innovation event.

“There are too many cars, too many vendors, too much garbage—they should see what they can do to make it easier for the community,” board district manager Christian Cassagnol told DNA Info. Last year’s edition attracted 70,000 visitors.

The Maker Faire runs September 20–21 at the New York Hall of Science, while New York’s Next Top Makers is tonight, September 18, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Coalition for Queens HQ in Long Island City. 

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