Karen reminded everyone that 23 July is the last day to enter Fine Arts competition at the State Fair. The Item entered will be due 31 July. See https://coloradostatefair.com/participate/general-entry-fine-arts/
Zach will invite TankMatez to speak at the August meeting. Karen will speak about the Arts Alliance at the September meeting.
Cathy reported that Tuxedo Ranch has been busy, for example, doing mugs for Fuel & Iron, working with the Pueblo Food Project, and working with CSU-Pueblo. Ana Luz had invited Jessica who is a mental health professional and artist in many media, including pour painting.
Russ reported that he gave Tracy Samora at the CSU-Pueblo Alumni office two names of woodworkers who might help her out with her project. Jane said that a third person had responded to her and she passed that name along to Tracy also.
Jane is working on updating the community maker calendar at pueblomakes.com
Micah Espinoza introduced himself as the new Director of Community Engagement at Pueblo Diversified Industries (PID) and Project Impact Cooperative (PIC), taking over because Susan wanted to be in a part-time role. He joined PDI a month ago. He has a bachelors in health care management and masters in organizational leadership. While he grew up in Rye, he lived in Utah most of his life. On a consulting trip to Pueblo, he met David Pump, who invited him to join PDI.
PDI has existed for 54 years, started by parents of special needs children and adults. The facility on the south side is about 5.5 acres with five separate buildings. Currently they offer services to about 160 individuals. Pre COVID the number was closer to 200 and they are getting back up to full capacity. On one of Micah’s early days at PDI, the fire department set up an obstacle course, which was the first time everyone had been together since before COVID; it was emotional and exciting.
PDI has a big focus on community integration. Before PDI, the model had been to separate people with special needs, which took them out of the community and deprived all parties of important connections. COVID let us all feel what that isolation was like. PDI offers everyone a chance to integrate into the community.
Project: Inspire Cooperative (PIC) is a separate entity but housed on the same campus. Artisans at PIC create, display, and sell artwork. PDI keeps a portion. PIC gives artisans exposure and an opportunity to sell. Artists are also encouraged to teach classes. PIC incorporated in December 2019 and a few months later COVID hit so they had to cancel classes, but PIC is ready to start classes again. The artists include jewelers, painters, and more. There are two kilns on site. The cooperative structure is important. People operate as apprentices or specialists while learning how to produce the artwork and earning a percentage. A specialist can create replicate the art start to finish on his or her own.
The Southern Colorado Youth Development also has office space. The use dirt bikes to teach life skills, such as how to take care of things. They give youth positive adult role models.
ActivArmor just joined.; they make 3D printed casts and will now produce at the PDI campus. This gives people served more opportunities for job exploration and to be part of community. Micah invited everyone out for tour. The most frequent comment he hears is: I had no idea.
Karen recommended the tour, even if you think you know what is going on.
Russ said (in the chat box) “The PDI concept is really a wonderful opportunity for ‘special needs’ individuals. My sister-in-law lives with us since her mom passed away 6 years ago. For a number of years she worked at a similar institution in Cleveland before moving here, and she has so many good memories of her time at Ruby Copy and Mail. She often brings up activities and other clients she interacted with and it was a very important developmental time and opportunity for interaction with others at her same level. A really good experience for a number of years for her.”
Ana Luz asked about space for PIC. Micah said it is located in Building 2 and there are open spaces for artists.
Jane asked about pay scales, which has been a sensitive issue in the past. Micah said the way it was done in the past wasn’t right as we hold our standards today. In past, workers were paid a subminimum wage. We fought to get rid of that legislation which will go away by the end of the year. People are paid a piece rate.
Karen said she was impressed by the special devices designed to help people do their jobs well. Micah and Karen described some such devices used to punch key chains, assemble a sewing kit, etc. Jane said such devices are part of industrial engineering, helping people do their jobs well.
Micah said that the director, David Pump, has institutionalized a lot of ideas to make the place warm and friendly; for example, a mural is being painted. Again, Micah said: PDI, You Have No Idea. This past Saturday they had an event with dinner, live auction drinks, and a couple of hundred people. Ladoris described apprentices and specialists working together as one cohesive unit during the event. Another event will take place on the 29th. There will be a harvest Fest October 9 on the Riverwalk. Vendor spaces are available for $25. .
Micah gave his contact information: Pueblo Diversified Industries, Project: Inspire Cooperative. 719-252-3897. email@example.com
In response to a question from Paula, Micah said anyone who wants to learn is welcome in PIC; we ask them to join the cooperative for a $10 fee. The PDI website has a call for artists. Ladoris and Micah talked about the positive, emotional impact PDI and PIC have on the clients and on others, including themselves. Ladoris said it is so uplifting to be in that environment.
Micah said the majority of the support is grant funding, also contracts and events. He also talked about how clients need to sign up in different ways, depending on their age, abilities, living environment, and more. PDI is trying to educate the community about how to get funded.
Jim said that PDI is an unrecognized gem in our community that needs more engagement and more appreciation. The group discussed groups that Micah can reach out to for possible collaborations: the Pueblo Food Project, Share and Care, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Casa, and more.
Jane reminded everyone of the speaker series, The Dig, at the Senate Bar each Wednesday evening. She will be speaking 1 September on making.
We discussed having Pueblo Makes meet in person and suggested taking a survey. The group favored a hybrid style of meeting.
Pueblo Makes supports all makers in Pueblo. We meet 3:30-5pm, the third Tuesday of each month, currently by zoom. Next meeting dates are 17 August, 21 September, and 19 October. For more information or to be added to the email list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org