Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Place to Create in 'SALT Makerspace' on Syracuse's West Side

wall with SALT makerspace decal, surrounding by saws and wood working equipment
John Smith

Tucked away in the Delavan Art Center are a couple of workshop areas for those who want to create something out of handcrafted wood, metal designs or 3D design and modeling.  Aspiring woodcrafters or high-tech sculptors can learn it all from instructors - all in one place developed by a Syracuse University Alum. 

It’s called the SALT Makerspace on the Near West Side, which stands for Syracuse Arts Learning and Technology. Mike Giannattasio, the founder and organizer of the space, says it all began with a dream:

“Let me see if there’s a way to create a community shop, a community space where I could share my tools, my knowledge and create a community so that we can all learn and share the access to the equipment.” 

Giannattasio graduated with a Master’s Degree in Sculpture two years ago.  He drew up a 22-page business plan with a partner and now continues to get support from the community.

“This has not been something that I did on my own. The community has really come out and I’ve had a lot of assistance from my friends, from business and from fellow artists and engineers to really shape this project into something that Syracuse can really use.” 

Giannattasio received a $29,000 grant for the SALT Makerspace from the Syracuse Tech Garden.  Private donors also tossed in $15,000 and “countless pieces of equipment.”  The workshops at the SALT Makerspace are distinctly separate in two large rooms, and they each require memberships.  There’s the so-called "clean" space for 3D modeling, printing and casting, and "dirty" space for wood and metalworking.

man stands with a spool of blue plastic cord to load into a 3d printing machine
Credit John Smith / WAER News
Mike Giannattasio stands with an old album of A Summer Place by the Percy Faith Orchestra. He is about to melt and shape it into art with a vacuum forming machine. To the right is Giannattasio's father, Lou who brought the machine from California.

“You’ll be able to build your furniture piece and sand it, finish it, put it all together… and potentially market that to someone or take it to your own home.”

Giannattasio favors handcrafting items out of wood, steel, cast bronze and plastics.  You’ve probably seen some of his work in Lipe Art Part on Syracuse’s West Side and bike racks in Hanover Square and in front of the Onondaga Historical Association.  Now, he hopes others will be inspired - to make their own artistic creations, and to contribute to the sense of community that can improve Syracuse's maker culture:

Giannattasio wants to partner with other local businesses to help further educate the area's workforce through training on computer programs and other artistic mediums, which could translate to addresss some manufacturing needs. Click herefor a link to the Makerspace website to learn more and sign up for a class.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.
Hannah vividly remembers pulling up in the driveway with her mom as a child and sitting in the car as it idled with the radio on, listening to Ira Glass finish his thought on This American Life. When he reached a transition, it was a wild race out of the car and into the house to flip on the story again and keep listening. Hannah’s love of radio reporting has stuck with her ever since.