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AZ Tech Beat | March 24, 2019

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Southwest Maker Fest starts March 22

Southwest Maker Fest starts March 22
Brandon Brown

The first ever Southwest Maker Fest will take place on March 22 in downtown Mesa and the organizers are taking the “maker” movement to heart as they prepare for the event.

“There is a strong group of organizations and individuals in the Valley involved in the maker movement,” said Cindy Ornstein, executive director of the Mesa Arts Center.

The maker movement, which is booming across the U.S., is a growing community focused on innovation, technology, creating new products and doing good for the community. More traditional arts and other forms of creativity are included in the movement.

Southwest Maker Fest will be held adjacent to the Mesa Arts Center, where spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity will be taking place at the same time. Ornstein said spark! attendees would find the Maker Fest interesting as well.

The organizers of Maker Fest are coming from a number of well-established creative outlets such as Arizona State University, Mesa Arts Center, and the Arizona Science Center, as well as a number of grassroots organizations such as HeatSync Labs and the Collaboratory.

Moheeb Zara, a board member at HeatSync Labs and a member of the Maker Fest programming committee said it will be an exciting event where almost anything will be presented.

“People have all sorts of crazy ideas,” Zara said. “There is a weird amount of creativity in Arizona.”

Maker means anyone who builds something, Zara said, Maker Fest will be a place where these people can get together, network and expand their ideas.

Ornstein said this is the pilot event is an experiment.

“We’ll make it, test it, see what works,” Ornstein said, “and then adjust as needed.”

She said future maker events in the Valley will learn from what happens at Southwest Maker Fest.

The deadline for exhibitors and presenters is Friday March 7. Ornstein said Maker Fest is open to everyone and all types of creators and makers are invited to present their craft. The application is available on the Maker Fest website.