Experimenting with New Techniques in Innovative Studio Arts “Makerspace”

To find one of the most innovative creative spaces on LMU’s campus, you really have to look. Burns 134, also known as the Mikos Makerspace, may be tucked away in an unassuming corner of the Burns Fine Arts Complex, but inside the room, the atmosphere is positively electrifying. Constructed over Summer 2017, this brand-new creative lab provides a space where studio art students can explore a range of techniques and methods for creating 2-D and 3-D artworks.

The studio offers students a spacious workplace and learning environment equipped with woodshop and sculpture tools, sewing machines, and other unconventional implements. The studio’s name is fitting – it’s not a space intended for any one artistic discipline, it’s a space for all makers.

The space was created with the specific intent of becoming an environment conducive to exploring new ideas. The high-ceilinged studio features an array of power tools stationed around the room, open space, and communal work tables. These elements contribute to the goal of the space – challenging young artists to experiment with new forms of art, new techniques, and new ways of thinking. The space is intended to be flexible, offering students already oriented towards three-dimensional art an opportunity to refine their skillset, while challenging two-dimensional artists to view art through a new perspective.

The space is managed by Studio Arts Clinical Assistant Professor Macha Suzuki, MFA, who has training in fine art, design, photography, sculpture and woodworking, and who stresses the importance of variety in achieving a well-rounded art education. Suzuki has observed that in his classes, the student artists who take courses in the space never fail to enrich their education by exploring new mediums. “A lot of students are afraid to try different mediums of art and as a result I find that they limit themselves,” Suzuki said. “My goal is to bring artists into this space and expose them to new tools, materials, and ways to create. Art is art whether it’s on a screen or on paper or in your hand.”

And with plenty of room for the space to grow and develop over the years, Suzuki has high hopes for future equipment acquisition. He dreams of a shop outfitted with high-end machinery like laser cutters and 3D printer, expanding upon the already wide array of available tools and technology. “This space is a true open possibility in terms of its potential, and we are just getting started,” said Suzuki. “One day, I’d love to see the shop as a gathering space for all types of artists – a true artists’ hub, bustling with activity, collaboration, energy, and most importantly, where makers of all types and from all disciplines feel welcome to come and create.”