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

Aug 6, 2014

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:

wall with SALT makerspace decal, surrounding by saws and wood working equipment
Saws in the 'dirty space' inside the SALT Makerspace.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“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
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.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“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 here for a link to the Makerspace website to learn more and sign up for a class.