West Philly makerspace The Hacktory, founded informally in 2007 by art and tech enthusiasts to offer formal instruction for aspiring makers, has shuttered its physical location at 3645 Lancaster Ave. and has ended all programming “for the foreseeable future.”
In an email sent to its members and stakeholders on Sunday, the organization’s board of directors said The Hacktory was short in rent given its income, and negotiated an early exit to its lease in May. The organization, which offered membership-based access to 3D printers, sewing machines and other equipment at the location, has ended all programs and is currently working on achieving its 501(c)3 nonprofit status and delivering on the lineup of classes StartUp PHL financed through a grant last summer.
“We’re looking forward to meeting with members, organizers, volunteers, and the general public in the next few months to find out what we want The Hacktory to become, and how we’ll go about getting there,” the statement read. “We’re in a somewhat unique position, being an organization with a rich history, an established base, but not currently tied to a physical location. We would like to note, however, that The Hacktory wasn’t fully self sustaining in its previous incarnation and we don’t expect to model our future on the past.”
Currently, the board is comprised of Sharp Hall, president; Philip Ryskalczyk, vice president; David Ryskalczyk, treasurer; and Imani Perry, board member. For eight years, designer Georgia Guthrie served as the organization’s executive director, until she stepped down in August 2017.
Guthrie said, in a guest post for Technical.ly, that sustaining maker activities in Philly had proved to be an uphill battle. This development would seem be another data point confirming that.
President Philip Ryskalczyk said there was no immediate date set for the public to have a chance to chime in on the future of the organization.-30-