A commercial kitchen is prepped for the afternoon Miso Soup cooking class. Three tables are full of all ages practicing wood carving. A classroom of adults is creating mosaic jewelry. 3-D printed projects line a windowsill. The podcasting studio is set up with a specially designed table by BARN woodworkers to accommodate microphones. Multiple tours of prospective members walk through the halls. This is a typical, busy day at BARN (Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network), a non-profit makerspace on Bainbridge Island. BARN enriches our community in so many ways. Our agents have even had clients say BARN made them want to move to the island.
BARN’s mission and vision is “To grow and inspire a creative community through craft, learning, and service.” They live this mission. The facility houses various studios that are open to members and to the public to explore creative endeavors. Within the walls of the studios, volunteers and teachers help participants. Beginners and experts alike create shoulder-to-shoulder, learning and expanding their skill sets. BARN’s Marketing Communications Coordinator, Jenn Hemmingsen, states, “BARN makes being a beginner easy.”
Photos courtesy of BARN.
History of BARN
In 2012, a group of woodworkers, fiber artists, and other community members came together with the goal of finding a home for makers and artisans. They envisioned a space where artisans could learn from one another. It was a long, concerted effort of volunteers and donors for years. Fast forward to June of 2017, and BARN’s new facility had its grand opening. Finally, the vision was fully launched.
Now, they’re looking ahead and want to purchase an adjacent property. BARN is actively seeking donations to complete the purchase so it can continue to grow.
There are discussions and focus groups analyzing which studio needs would be best met in the new facility. One of the founding members, Jeanne Huber’s face lit up while discussing BARN’s activity and growth. “It’s a delight to see that it’s so busy.”
Classes and Programs
BARN’s programming revolves around 10 studios that range from writing to woodworking to boat building and the fiber arts. Interested locals can easily get involved. Whether you’re a beginner looking to try something new or an experienced artisan looking to take a class from an expert (such as Sue Spargo in fiber arts), there is something for everyone.
More than that, there is a culture of mentoring embedded within the organization itself. All are encouraged to support continued learning. Take a closer look at the studio options in BARN’s video.
Eager to get started? Review their extensive catalog of classes or take a free, guided studio tour on Wednesdays or Sundays from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM.
Want to get a creative pre-teen or teenager connected? There is an extensive youth program. In the summertime, the space is overtaken by summer camps. And, BARN has partnered with local schools to support programs like Girls Who Code and high school tech classes.
BARN also offers financial assistance to cover and/or subsidize membership and tuition costs.
According to BARN’s 2022 Impact Report (PDF), more than 2,400 individuals participated in BARN programs. These artisans were guided by 150 different instructors. Their facility offered locals and small businesses access to skills and tools. BARN hosted Teen Nights, Maker Monday classes for early-release days, and summer youth programs. BARN was also at the center of building a tiny house.
Artisans fixed 23 furniture pieces, recorded 49 podcasts, and baked 140 pies. Employee Betsy Hagestedt shared, “We’re always evolving, responding to people’s needs.”
Photos courtesy of BARN.
How to Get Involved at BARN
BARN is open to the public, and there are 10 membership levels. Member benefits include free access to open studio sessions, extended hours access, discounts on classes, and participation in members-only events. Members are also able to sell their art at the annual BARN Bazaar and receive discounts at area businesses. Members interested in having a voice regarding the direction of BARN and its programming can join their Studio Steering Committee.
Volunteers are a vital component of BARN’s programming. Each studio has a list of volunteers who help run open studio times and mentor newcomers. Many studios also offer classes. Check out the video below to learn about one BARN volunteer’s experience.
BARN is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and your donation is tax-deductible. Check out their online donation page.
BARN is truly something special. It is a makerspace, a mentorship mecca, and a place that pulses with creativity. As soon as you walk through the doors, you will quickly realize it is a true Bainbridge Island gem. It is a place for everyone to create, collaborate, learn, and grow. Check out the BARN Facebook page to stay up-to-date on programs, exhibits, and events.