It was bold move for us; leaving that wee space on McLeaod Trail & Tenth and finding a huge industrial space to give us room to grow. And it’s paid off! The transformation we’ve undergone in the last six months has been phenomenal. From a very cool but tiny heritage building where running the microwave when somebody was soldering was enough to blow a circuit, a place where members gathered mostly just on Tuesdays working on their laptops or small kits, talking about all the cool stuff we’d like to be doing; to a 2,300 sq ft industrial space tricked out with power tools and the room (and zoning) to do some really cool stuff (like melting aluminum!). A place abuzz with activity any time you walk in the door – our Tuesday nights are now so busy talking to new people excited and curious about the space, as well as artists and organizers plotting cool things to do with Protospace, that members are coming together every other day of the week to get our projects done.
And we’ve done some cool stuff with some cool people. We just finished a 100% hacked, interactive LED arduino driven tree sculpture for Holipalooza’s silent auction. We’ve collaborated with the very fun Choose yer Own event organizers, hosted Dorkbot for a great open house and evening of lectures, we’ve worked with Endeavor Arts, Light Up The World and Victoria Park BRZ for Make:Art events where people learned how to make their own LED decorations. We had a great Hack Halloween event where people joined us for a night of electronic music and a chance to add electronics to their costumes. And our annual Butterman celebration was, well, simply EPIC!
Our move has been a huge success, with one small hitch. Under the “build it and they will come” mentality, we’ve created a space, and are thrilled to see our membership grow as a result. The trick is, or membership growth hasn’t yet caught up to our burn rate as we use up our savings covering monthly costs and our growing need for materials. It’s crunch time, we’re going to need an infusion of cash to carry through into 2012 while we chase down some grants and get our membership up to sustainable numbers.
You Can Help!
If you don’t feel the need to be a full member for space access, or to be an official “friend” of Protospace to be a part of our online community, but still think we do something valuable for Calgary and want to see us succeed, please donate! There’s a paypal button at the bottom of the membership page, or even better come down on a Tuesday night to join in the fun, and leave a donation with one of our directors. Every little bit helps; if everybody following us on twitter gave us $10 we’d be set well into the new year.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member or a friend, but haven’t got around to it yet, now’s the time! Your commitment to the organization adds not just cash, but the ideas, enthusiasm, and experience we need to continue to take on these amazing projects. If you’re already a friend, think about becoming a member; you’ve seen all the cool stuff we’ve been talking about online, you know you wanna come down to the space and actually help build it …’cmon, I know you do!
If you’re already a member/friend consider paying your dues in advance (it gets you a discount!) and gives us the cash infusion we need now to carry us through ’til our membership numbers can fully support us. Or, you could make a one time, top-up donation just ’cause you love us. We’re getting bolder and taking on increasingly more complex/creative/crazy projects, and those cost money, you cash helps manifest those dreams.
If your company is looking for somewhere to spend those community engagement dollars by the end of the year – think of us! We’re a registered non-profit, and sure need the help right now. Or, if you’re dreading Christmas shopping, how about making a donation to Protospace in lieu of gifts this year? Give your loved ones some hacker cred and karma points all in one donation. A gift that gives twice, well three times if you count it as: cred, karma, and cash.
As we’re also applying for grants, demonstrating our value to the community, our unique contribution of tech literacy and the geeky way we support the arts, is really important for us. So filling the comment field below with testimonials on why Protospace matters to you would be as good as gold (and nearly as good as that cashy-money we be needin’).
There are lots of ways you can help, so pick one …and pass it on! Tweet us, facebook us, post us to your lists. Tell everybody how amazing you think Protospace is, and how much you want to see us continue to provide the sorts of innovative, tech minded, community driven projects and events only a hackerspace/makerspace can.
And thank you all so much for everything you’ve done to get us this far. Your support then, and now, make you a huge part of Protospace – in a totally metaphorical, and not even remotely soylent green sort of way!