TekVenture celebrates with soft opening at its new location Visitors also can help make the nonprofit’s float in the TRF parade

TekVenture will celebrate National Week of Making with special soft opening hours at its new location and an invitation for the public to help make the nonprofit organization’s float in the Three Rivers Festival Parade.

The public art and technology workshop moved early this year to its new quarters in the River City complex at 1550 Griffin St., east of downtown. It had outgrown its space at 1800 Broadway.

Now through June 24, TekVenture will be open noon-8 p.m. daily so people can come in and check out the new space and the various equipment and resources available for making projects, said Greg Jacobs, TekVenture president.

Workshop areas include welding, sewing, 3-D printing, blacksmithing, metalworking, machining, woodworking, ceramics and robotics. The building also includes a great hall area available for exhibitions, art shows and rental for events.

People who stop by in the coming week can help out with some of the “making” involved in crafting a giant phoenix bird and other items for the TekVenture TRF float.

Workshop members have designed and started work on a giant phoenix bird, which represents TekVenture’s rising from a few previous locations to get a good foothold at the Griffin Street building, said Beth Collier, the organization’s art facilitator. The goal is to create a sculpture that will last for years and eventually can be installed in a permanent location.

All workshop areas at TekVenture are collaborating on the project, which includes blacksmith Brett Wilds constructing the metal frame of the bird’s body, robotics coordinator Mick Bierbaum creating a system to make the wings move, and sewing expert Betsy Gemmer creating the bird’s feathers and the float’s skirt.

“It is really going to show everything we can do,” Collier said.

Visitors can help by taking cloth cut in the shape of flames and stapling them onto black background fabric for the float skirt, Gemmer said. They also can make and attach feathers for the bird’s wings.

TekVenture also is planning special activities during TRF, members said. More details about those will be available on the TekVenture website, www.tekventure.org. You also can find information there about memberships, the upcoming Inventing Our Summer workshop series and more. <br>

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TekVenture, 1550 Griffin St. in the River City complex, will be open noon-8 p.m. daily through June 24 in celebration of National Week of Making.

For more about TekVenture, a public art and technology workshop, and its upcoming workshops, activities and membership, go to www.tekventure.org.