“We’re helping kids to be creative problem solvers who can navigate fast-evolving technology,” says Brenda Lane, co-owner of MindCraft Makerspace in the Stanley Marketplace. MindCraft, opened in 2017, is a do-it-yourself digital fabrication lab that provides education and “play time” on high-tech tools like 3-D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and sewing machines that weave LED lights into fabrics.
Digital manufacturing is changing how people work, Lane says. “3-D printers are game-changers for manufacturing; they are being used to build homes, cars, even human organs. But the skills to operate them are complicated; you need to know how to run a CAD (computer-aided design) program. We start kids as young as four on coding and programming because these are the skills they will need in the future.”
She said robots and drones will comprise much of the future workforce. “They are taking a lot of jobs. So we need to know how to develop, program and maintain the robots that will run our industries. Schools don’t have the time or resources to provide that training. We’re developing a tech-savvy pipeline to fill future jobs.”
MindCraft’s instructors are computer programmers, electrical and mechanical engineers and fabricators. “We also use talented interns from the local high schools, who teach to build their work experience,” Lane said.
Lane, an East Colfax neighborhood resident, is a fourth-generation educator who spent 20 years as a teacher and administrator in schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine art, majoring in sculpture. “Being a sculptor got me into this,” she says about opening MindCraft with partner Adriana Santacoloma. “I’ve always been into making stuff. I kind of opened this for me and then invited others in. When I can, I play too.”
MindCraft’s 2,300-square-foot classroom and lab also welcomes adults for classes and events, including learning how to engrave your name on a wine glass with a laser engraver. “Adults let loose with their creative selves and say, ‘This is awesome!’” said Lane.
Traditional crafts are also offered, including woodworking and sewing. “This summer, adults will bring their old clothes and remake them for their kids. Re-purposing is a big part of what we do.”
MindCraft is in the Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St. in Aurora. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10am to 8pm, Friday 10am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 9pm and Sunday 10am to 5pm. For more information see mindcraftmakerspace.com. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.364.9581.