The MVKC (Maker Village KC) Builder Series


Project summary: The MVKC (Maker Village KC) Builder Series is a set of small but sustainable craft and design projects that will work to inspire and activate local artists, builders, and entrepreneurs, by providing them with access to otherwise prohibitively expensive resources like space, tools, and expertise. The workshops will be priced affordably for all participants, who could also have short-term access to MVKC’s shop space and tools to complete their own projects. Projects include a worm farm, concrete planter and rain barrels, all designed to increase resourcefulness and build community.

Project details: the Maker Village Kansas City (MVKC) workshop, is a 3,000 square foot facility located at 31st and Cherry. The series will bring in a variety of artists and builders who will lead instructional workshops. The goal of the workshops is to provide an engaging point of entry into the world of tools and manual skill, which can often be intimidating or prohibitive to people who cannot afford tools or have not previously been instructed in their use. At these public workshops, established Makers will lead area residents in group builds, thereby increasing their skill and confidence and connecting them with other like-minded individuals.

WardBopp3MVKC has a tried-and-true template for workshops that is designed to focus on objects that can be replicated and completed in a short period of time. A good previous example of this is a Bike Trailer Workshop hosted by the Maker Village. In collaboration with volunteers from the 816 Bike Collective and BikeWalkKC, MVKC invited participants to construct their own bicycle cargo-carrier trailer (essentially a two-wheeled platform that trails behind a normal bicycle). Participants had access to experienced cyclists as well as to all of the materials and tools needed to complete the project, so that they could increase their knowledge of not only building projects but also cycling. In other words, the workshop was educational in several ways while also providing a tangible product for participants to take away.

WardBopp7The Rocket Grant will allow MVKC to host bigger and better workshops, and to increase their reach throughout the surrounding neighborhood and community. Specifically, the Maker Village will be able to compensate the presenters for their time and expertise and still offer these workshops at minimal cost, increasing the accessibility and impact of this program. By paying established artists and builders to lead workshops for aspiring artists and builders with less experience, the MVKC Builder Series provides direct support to current practitioners, while encouraging future practitioners to see what is possible.

The workshops will run from January through May of 2015.


Nick and SamNick Ward-Bopp is a co-founder of the Jarboe Initiative where he and Sam Green rehabbed a building in exchange for rent-equity. They needed access to tools and knowledge, and realized that many other artist, entrepreneurs, makers, engineers, and architects were in the same boat. This led them to initiate the Maker Village space in Kansas City, with a long-term goal to lower the barriers of entry into the maker movement for Kansas Citians.

Nick received his Bachelor of Arts in business in 2009, from Avila University. He is also a recipient of a Bread! KC Grant to pursue the Maker Village project, and is currently participating in UMKC’s 2014 Entrepreneurship Scholars Program. Nick has made craftwork for Boulevard Brewery, The Local Pig, Port Fonda, Utilitarian Workshop, and many others.

Sam Green is a co-founder of the Jarboe Initiative, and graduated from Purdue University in 2009 with a degree in electrical engineering. Sam competed on an international team in Darwin 21, a national Swiss robotics competition, created to inspire implementation of unconventional automation processes. Sam currently works as a design engineer for large industrial projects at Burns & McDonnell.


This artist team would also like to credit: Katie Green, who is in charge of sustainability at Maker Village. Roberto Camacho is their graphic advisor, currently working as a Designer at Willoughby Design. John Helling is their content advisor, currently working as a Librarian at the Johnson County Library. Matt Kleinmann is their building design advisor, currently a professor of architecture at Kansas University

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