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Confluent to bring together arts, tech communities in Tri-Cities’ first makerspace

Nick Napoli, left, and Davin Diaz pose with some of the tools available at the new Confluent makerspace in Richland. Napoli is opening the space, which will be a place where people can make art and technology as well as attend classes and events. The DrewBoy Creative art gallery, run by Diaz, will also be featured in the space. The grand opening events start at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at Confluent, 285 Williams Blvd.
Nick Napoli, left, and Davin Diaz pose with some of the tools available at the new Confluent makerspace in Richland. Napoli is opening the space, which will be a place where people can make art and technology as well as attend classes and events. The DrewBoy Creative art gallery, run by Diaz, will also be featured in the space. The grand opening events start at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at Confluent, 285 Williams Blvd. Tri-City Herald

The floor, once covered in carpet, has some marks on it, some paint splashes.

It looks lived in.

It’s meant to.

Confluent, the new makerspace opening in Richland, isn’t designed to be a pristine, sterile museum.

Instead, it’s envisioned as a hub of creativity — a spot where people can gather to work on art and technology projects, to share knowledge and tools, to take classes and attend events.

Paint will be flying.

And sawdust.

And ideas. Lots of ideas.

“We started thinking about the mission and what activities were going to be happening in this space. We thought, why should we lay down tile in the immediate future when we know there are going to be artists in here teaching classes, working?” said Davin Diaz, whose DrewBoy Creative art gallery is part of Confluent.

The makerspace will make its debut Feb. 6 with a grand opening celebration.

It’s in an area of Richland — on Williams Boulevard, across from the Uptown Shopping Center— that’s quickly becoming a center of the arts. Glass and photography studios and music and theater venues are nearby.

While makerspaces are growing in popularity, the nonprofit Confluent is the only one in the Tri-City area. The next closest is in Yakima, said Nick Napoli, Confluent president.

Along with the DrewBoy Creative galley, Confluent has space for classes and events, plus tools artists, inventors and hobbyists alike can use to create, from woodworking, metal working and pottery equipment to 3-D printers.

Napoli envisions a bustling facility, brimming with fun and collaboration.

“On a given day, there could be people using the metal lathe to build the next electric car. There could be people throwing pottery on the wheel. There could be talks about anything from how to build your cosplay costume to how to work some electronic device,” he said.

Napoli, who is originally from Philadelphia, moved to the Tri-Cities about five years ago.

He found a community full of artists and tech aficionados, and he sees Confluent as a place to bring those worlds together.

“I’m interested in what pops up organically when you combine those groups,” he said, noting innovations such as MakerBot 3-D printing technology have been born in makerspaces.

Diaz also looks forward to the creative fruits Confluent will bear.

“The name is perfect. It’s a confluence of ideas and opinions, art, skill sets. The whole shebang,” he told the Herald. For that connection to happen, “you’ve got to bring people together.”

Confluent will offer memberships starting at $25 a month. It also will offer one-day and five-day passes.

The grand opening kicks off at 10 a.m. on Feb. 6 and will include talks, demonstrations and activities.

The first show in the DrewBoy Creative gallery will debut that evening. The opening reception for The Red Show starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature live music, dancing and drinks from Solar Spirits distillery and Paper Street Brewing Co. It’s a 21-and-older event.

For details, go to www.facebook.com/ConfluentSpace and www.facebook.com/DrewBoyCreative.

Confluent is at 285 Williams Blvd.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @SaraTCHerald

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