Creativity at Maker Faires gives us a glimpse at the future

Knight Foundation supports Miami Mini Maker Faire to connect talented people in a creative environment that stimulates new ideas. Below, organizer Ric Herrero writes about the maker movement and the Faire planned for Nov. 16. Above: World Maker Faire 2013, photo by Andrew Kelly.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Miami Herald’s Starting Gate blog.

Miami has a long tradition of do-it-yourself ingenuity and tinkering. 

Many who have arrived here came with some technical or artisanal skill, yet for decades found little opportunity to put their skills to professional use. Recently, as jobs have become scarcer, makers young and old have started their own businesses making things or using technology to hack traditionally “non-tech” goods into something new. Others practice their skills as a hobby. However, these talented individuals have yet to coalesce around a “maker movement” as many others have in major cities around the world. Related Link

The Miami Mini Maker Faire, which will be held at The LAB Miami in Wynwood on Nov. 16, with additional exhibits at The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse and O Cinema, will provide these makers with a unique opportunity to show what they have made and to share what they have learned. Thanks to Knight Foundation’s support, it will help foster a sustainable maker culture in our region and will serve as a bellwether for how far we’ve come as a creative community—and how far we have to go.

Our Mini Maker Faire, the first for South Florida, is part of a growing global entrepreneurial movement. The original Maker Faire was first held in San Mateo, Calif. This year it celebrated its eighth annual show with some 900 makers and 120,000 people in attendance. Earlier this month, more than 70,000 people attended the fourth annual World Maker Faire in New York. They met some 700 makers whose projects ranged from quadcopter drones and 3-D printed toys, to solar-powered robots and sensor-based gadgets that can wire your home and garden to the Internet.

Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Newcastle (United Kingdom), Rome and Tokyo are home to the “featured” 2013 Maker Faires. Elsewhere, communities are organizing independent Mini Maker Faires—including right here in Miami.

Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration of creativity and invention, with the kind of “gee-whiz” energy you likely haven’t felt since you first visited Tomorrowland as a kid.

Though far from mainstream, the popularity of Maker Faires has surged in recent years for several reasons, including:

  • They are fun, interactive events that excite kids—and adults—about crafting, circuit electronics and soldering. At World Maker Faire, I heard a little girl tell her dad, “I want to make a robot and take it home!”
  • They explore cutting-edge trends in design, education, science and tech. In New York, I saw panels discussing the reemergence of hands-on STEM education in U.S. schools, the rise of maker spaces and how tech is ushering in a hyper-personalized future where we will be increasingly able to communicate with every physical object around us.
  • They provide a wonderful opportunity to meet local tech and design talent on the ground floor. This is why companies like Disney, Ford, Google and Intel are sponsoring Maker Faires around the world. Several products have debuted at Maker Faires, including the Arduino and Raspberry Pi microcontrollers so popular in engineering classes these days.

Over the next few years, Miami Mini Maker Faire will grow into a premier annual showcase of regional makers from South Florida and the Americas. It will attract top talent specializing in DIY technology, arts and crafts to come make cool things in Miami. We hope you will join us for this exciting inaugural event.

To apply to exhibit your project at the Miami Mini Maker Faire, or purchase tickets to attend, please visit

Ric Herrero is also co-founder of MIAMade, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a sustainable maker culture in the Greater Miami area.