Arts & Culture

SLO MakerSpace gives members a place to build, tinker and experiment

SLO MakerSpace shop manager Rory Aronson cuts out table legs with the CNC router.
SLO MakerSpace shop manager Rory Aronson cuts out table legs with the CNC router.

Start-up costs for most art projects are minimal — a canvas, some paints, a brush. But if your creative vision is more sculptural, you could run into sticker shock. It’s not like previously owned lathes are lined up next to the treadmill at your neighbor’s yard sale.

SLO MakerSpace has the solution. The facility opened Feb. 1 behind Trader Joe’s in San Luis Obispo. It offers equipment, classes, projects and mentors to help people turn their ideas into reality. Members have access to traditional woodworking and metal construction tools as well as fabrication tools. It’s kind of like joining a gym. Workshop memberships are $40 a month, and full workshop memberships are $95 a month. Family members can be added for an additional fee.

All ages flocked to the open house Jan. 18 to check out the equipment and working spaces. Hours will be 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit  for more info.

If you went to the first SLO Mini Maker Faire in Mission Plaza last year, you have an idea about the maker movement. If not, put May 10 on your calendar for the second annual all ages festival to “make, create, learn, invent, craft, recycle, build, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science, and technology.” Check out  for more. There’s also a link to download Make magazine and project ideas, such as a self-filling pet water bottle.

I picked up project directions at the SLO MakerSpace open house for a “DIY Instant Speaker” housed in a cheese grater. I just need to get over my fear of soldering irons.

Another May date to mark down is May 24 for the sixth annual Paso Arts Fest, a program of Studios on the Park. Artists have until Feb. 15 to apply to participate at the celebration that attracts more than 7,000 visitors. The application can be found at The website also has information about volunteering at the event that benefits Studios on the Park’s arts programming for children and the community.

If you’re out and about for the downtown Atascadero Sweetheart Stroll on Saturday, be sure to drop in to The Artery at 5890 Traffic Way for the reception for Lena Rushing’s “Uncanny” exhibit. She’ll show paintings and mixed media through March 28. In fact, make a special trip — the South County artist is one of my favorites. Preview her work at