The idea of “makers” is by no means new. Just a couple of generations ago, individuals, families, and communities found “making” to be an essential part of survival; from gardening to making clothing, repairing and building transportation and housing, and as a general requirement for employability.
Charleston is a city that has retained its sense of history and tradition while leading the nation in preservation studies and placemaking. Incidentally, it has welcomed a community of heritage craftsmen and contemporary makers. The community offers several unique opportunities for making in the Holy City.
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF BUILDING ARTS
Based in Charleston, South Carolina The American College of Building Arts was founded in 1998 by legendary master blacksmith Philip Simmons. The team was led by John Paul Huguley who saw that qualified building craftsmen were going extinct. In a city like Charleston, almost every home is 100+ years old and needs specialized craftspeople to perform maintenance and repairs. To educate future generations in traditional building craft, ACBA offers programs including Blacksmithing, Carpentry, Classical Architecture, Plaster, Stonecarving, and Timber Framing. The college strives for exceptional craftsmanship and encourages the preservation and understanding of the world’s architectural heritage.
REDUX CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
Redux Contemporary Art Center (REDUX) is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering creativity and the cultivation of contemporary art through diverse exhibitions, affordable studio space for visual artists, meaningful education and outreach programs, and a multidisciplinary approach to the dialogue between artists and their audiences.
REDUX offers free year round art exhibitions, artist and curator lecture series, and film screenings, while educating art patrons of all ages through art classes and workshops, community outreach, and internship opportunities. In addition, Redux remains a bustling center for contemporary art with 38 private artist studios, and the only community printmaking and darkroom facilities in the Lowcountry.
Reforge Charleston Set inside a 3,800-square-foot space within Citadel Mall, Reforge Charleston is best described as an adult version of elective class. Members can use the impressive collection of professional tools—think 3D printers, commercial sewing machines, woodworking apparatus—to pursue hobbies or complete DIY projects. Officially, known as a “makerspace,” the communal workshop provides equipment, support, and training for all experience levels.