Smile Politely

The Maker Movement at Parkland

In one of his most famous speeches, Robert Kennedy spoke for innovators when he quoted playwright George Bernard Shaw’s line, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Like Mr. Kennedy, and Mr. Shaw, there have always been humans discontent with things “the way they are.” They have been called different names—inventor, artist, dreamer, and some not-so-nice ones—but they are all united under the burning question of “why not?”

Today, many people asking that question have found a home in the Maker Movement. True to their literal label, Makers make things—they imagine, experiment, and bring ideas to life. Their creations can be beautiful or functional, but are often an inspired combination of both. The passion and organization supporting the Maker Movement grows in strength each year, and the ideals and innovations of its participants serve as cultural bright spots.

Luckily, there are several local, high-quality inlets into the Maker Movement. One of them is Parkland College, offering affordable classes that guide and support making. In our Art Program, faculty members, all working artists, lead hands-on classes in fully equipped workshops. Students receive the space and time to think creatively and communicate visually.

Parkland’s Giertz Gallery Director and Metals instructor Lisa Costello offers her take on the popularity of the Maker Movement, and its connection to Art courses.
“As human beings, we are not only built to be consumers, but we have a strong desire to be sensitive Makers,” she said. “Huge parts of our brain are geared toward small motor skills, attention to detail and the need for thoughtful creativity and problem solving. We offer classes that meet these needs.

“Some of our students are interested in eventually setting up their own studio, perhaps selling on Etsy or in galleries; some already have a degree and are looking to expand how they understand the world; and some take the classes as an elective to enrich their educational experience. It is a great time to take an art class and feed that creative desire, no matter where it stems from.”

If you’re intrigued and ready to discover how you fit in to the Maker Movement, or if you’re already a proud Maker, you’ll find the materials and support you seek in Parkland’s Art classes. Register at, or by calling 217/351-2482. To stay in the loop of the latest course offerings, follow Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts Department on Facebook.

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