Feb 12, 2o14
By Steve Porter
LOVELAND – Loveland has a well-deserved reputation for being a creative city, and now there’s a group of creative-types looking to take that a step further with the founding of Loveland Creator Space.
Jamie Leben, president of the board for the nonprofit volunteer organization, said the space is still more concept than reality, but the group – which boasts more than a dozen donating founders – hopes to ink a lease deal on a downtown area space soon.
“I’ve been interested in the concept for the last year or so,” said Leben, whose company, IT-Works, is an IT support business. “We had a meetup and had like a dozen people show up, and the group’s been growing since then.”
And that was before last fall’s Mini Maker Faire held at Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, when thousands of people turned out to see demonstrations, exhibits and products – many made by home-based tinkerers and inventors.
Leben said that outpouring of interest and level of creativity encouraged him and the group even more to establish a creator space where makers, tinkerers, artists and craftspeople of all persuasions could come and share tools and ideas.
Leben envisions a creator space of at least 3,000 square feet with tools that would include a 3D printer, laser cutter, soldering bench, even a sewing machine – all available for use by a wide variety of creatives.
The space would also be available for classes in various creative topics, he notes.
Leben said he prefers a downtown site for the space to make it more accessible to public transit and just being a centralized location in town.
He said he hopes to have the space open “in the next three to six months” if not sooner.
“We would open something immediately if the right space becomes available at the right price,” he said.
Daniel Packard, senior software engineer at Road Narrows Robotics in downtown Loveland, is Loveland Creator Space board vice president. Packard said he loves the idea of a creator space.
“Having a location where there’s access to creative tools and a community of creative and tech-skilled people to interact with on a daily basis is going to create an environment of creative development,” he said.
“I think it can make some interesting things happen.”
Packard said he’d like to see community residents have what he has.
“I’m personally very lucky to have access to 3D printers and other tools to carry out a creative project, but when those tools are available to the wider community, I think that would be very beneficial.”
Marcie Erion, director of Loveland’s Office of Creative Sector Development, said the creative space would be “a wonderful addition to the innovation landscape being developed in Loveland.”
“It will provide an educational and professional playground to explore new ideas, problem solve and create new prototypes and technologies,” she said.
“It is also an important part of workforce development as we work as a community to produce the employees our high-tech and innovative companies will need. A maker space gives students the opportunities to work hands-on and learn to problem-solve in a way that will benefit them in our high-tech environment.”
Leben said he appreciates the city’s support and encouragement for a creator space, but hopes it can take off with its own wings.
“We want to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” he said. “In the maker spirit, we’re trying to make something happen.”