Attendees get hands-on with programming, more at Maker Party in the Strip
Juliet Forrest sat transfixed by a computer screen on Saturday morning as Jess Gold, a youth educator from Assemble, led her through an introduction to computer programming with Scratch.
The 5-year-old blonde from McCandless smiled as she manipulated the program, developed at MIT, to discover the building blocks of the visual computer language that generated a piano keyboard game. With time, Gold said, just about anyone can become comfortable with the free program and move on to make games.
“We're really just empowering people through making. This is a hands-on program with art and technology,” Gold said, explaining her work station at the Maker Party in the gallery at the Society for Contemporary Crafts.
Assemble is a nonprofit educational group based in Garfield that focuses on teaching and promoting STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, art and math).
Making, tinkering, building and creating were the focus of the Pittsburgh Maker Party, a free event that attracted scores of families to the gallery in the Strip District.
Christine Forrest proclaimed the event a success for her family. “She's enjoying it, and he's getting ideas,“ she said, pointing to her daughter and her husband, Tom.
The Maker Party, one of a series of free global events this summer organized by software community Mozilla, attracted a cross-section of adults and children intent on getting hands-on experience with an array of work stations that featured everything from papermaking to hacking The New York Times website.
“Think of this as the garage tinkerers meeting the hackers. It's a fun way to provide youth and adults with a way to back into the maker community. This is a direct response to the fear that we're losing those skills to make things” said Ryan Coon. Coon, a staffer for the Sprout Fund, helped organize the Pittsburgh event.
The normally quiet gallery buzzed with chatter as children and adults tackled everything from an introduction to digital filmmaking with representatives from Steeltown Youth and Media, to Victorian puppetry with Dave English's Schmutz Company.
Outside the gallery, Lizzee Solomon and Julie Pompizzi, teachers from the Tech Shop in East Liberty, alternately inked a printmaking block crafted from a linoleum tile with a laser cutter and demonstrated the ins and outs of a homemade cannon that blew miniature marshmallows into the air.
In the gallery basement, artist Albert Pantone helped Ashley Fersch, 22, of Reserve make paper from a solution he produces from invasive Japanese knotweed that he has been clearing out of his Larimer neighborhood. Although the knotweed recipe is new, the process dates back 1,500 years, Pantone said.
“This seems like something I could do at home,” Fersch said, as Pantone helped her package the still wet page she made.
Nearby, Ethan Csont, 13, and his sister, Caroline, 11, took advantage of sculpting clay, making seed pods and, finally, hacking The New York Times to create their own headlines using a free program and a little help from instructors with Remake Learning's Digital Corps.
“Anybody can be creative in some way,” said Ethan. “Even if they don't know it, they have that spark.”
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Neighbor arrested after McKeesport house fire, authorities say
- Early success in White House race a pleasant surprise for Carson
- Memorial Day service in National Cemetery of the Alleghenies still growing
- 4 dogs found dead in Beechview home; woman charged
- Journalist Burzynski found place in public relations, military
- Newsmaker: Rich Jones
- Thrill of the chase: Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
- Feds want to seize cash, property from suspects in drug bust
- Man shot while driving through Liberty Tunnel