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The Makery: Downtown State College’s Creative Oasis

Tucked within the grid of restaurants, clothing stores, and ever-multiplying high rises of downtown State College is an establishment that allows students and residents to explore their artistic sides and learn new techniques.

The Makery is a creative studio on West Calder Way where classes, workshops, parties, and events are offered in a fun, light-filled environment.

A similar studio under a different name was opened a few miles south of State College in 2011. Some customers at a local boutique asked if its owner knew anyone who could teach their children how to sew, take good photographs, or even teach their husbands how to paint. Several local artists who sold work at the boutique slowly started to offer classes in their respective crafts.

The first Makery opened in 2015 in a much larger studio located at 209 Calder Way. It’s currently run by 16 instructors who offer events in many disciplines, such as modern floral design, macrame, modern calligraphy, knitting, and more. The Makery is owned and primarily operated by Amy Frank, a local fabric artist and sewing instructor.

“Students love our Open Studio program,” Frank said. “It’s just $5 for students and $10 for adults. They can use any of our supplies and equipment to make whatever they like. We also have suggested modern, unique Makery activities every weekend, for those that might need a little more guidance.”

The studio’s open space allows groups of artists to work together on projects.

The Makery has been recognized five times in the last two years for its creative activities and community space by State College Magazine’s “Best of State College” awards, receiving several Gold and Silver-level accolades.

It won the Gold award for best community space and a Silver award for being the best spot for after-school activities in 2017, and notched a Gold award as one of the Borough’s best new businesses one year earlier.

Some student organizations at Penn State have made use of the Makery for more extensive artistic projects through its private open studio.

“Student groups seem to love our private open studio parties as well,” Frank said. “This is when a floor, an organization, or an athletic team comes to create the same individual project or a group project together. They love being in our fun, creative space and being able to get a little messy too.”

The Makery’s official website features a schedule of events that take place every week. These events range from The Mini Maker Club for five-to-seven year olds to a make-your-own earrings out of a mix of resin, assorted tints, and glitters session. 

Cost varies for each session, and makers must register online and pay in advance.

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About the Author

Hope Damato

Hope is a 2022 graduate who majored in broadcast journalism and was one of Onward State's social media editors. She resides in her parents house as she is still on the job hunt. Someone please hire her. Feel free to follow her on twitter @hopemarinaa to send her funny tweets or email her at [email protected] to yell.

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