Total loan: $5,000
Pittsburgh, PA, United States / Arts
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A loan helped improve the conditions of Open Floor's building to better suit the needs of its current tenants and attract additional tenants.
In 2010, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA after traveling across the country with the goal of becoming a skilled craftsman in metals. I began a six month apprenticeship at Red Star Ironworks and was hired as a blacksmith/fabricator. Here, I developed my skills and appreciation for the arts and crafts as well as the knowhow that goes into running a small business. In the third quarter of 2012, Red Star relocated its base of operations, leaving Millvale and the large facility at 2 Sedgwick St. open for new opportunities. Rather than relocating with the company, a co-worker and I decided to lease the building to create Open Floor, a co-operative shared workspace for artists, crafts-people, and small business owners alike. This decision seemed logical as I have always enjoyed surrounding myself with creative individuals and being part of a community. Being in Millvale has allowed me to become engaged with the community through my maker space and crafts. Open Floor has gone through two incarnations since I co-founded it. From the time it first formed up to the present, I utilized part of the space to run my own small ornamental ironworks business. Leading and running Open Floor has put me in the position to impact many people and the local community in positive ways. For example, I have had the opportunity to fabricate the Millvale Bike racks, a set of gates in a public park in a main part of town, and other various things for the Millvale Community Library. I see these partnerships with the community growing in the future, fostering both a positive environment for the Open Floor maker space within it to thrive and creating strong ties between my work and the town.