Youth Makers

Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair, Handmade Arcade showcases local and national artists who excel in design, innovation and creativity. A nationally recognized, award-winning marketplace for handmade products, the event also features a vibrant and engaging Hands-on Handmade Activity Area. Handmade Arcade is passionate about extending these opportunities to include youth makers.


The Handmade Arcade Youth Maker Scholarship Program empowers craft-based artists, makers and entrepreneurs ages 16 to 18. From the application process to product development to being showcased at one of the country’s leading maker events, participants learn the value of enterprise, innovation, collaboration and making things by hand.

In 2018, through a generous grant from Remake Learning and The Grable Foundation, scholarship recipients received the following support:

  • FREE 10-by-10 vendor space at Handmade Arcade’s marketplace
  • Stipend for materials
  • Extensive coverage via social media
  • Mentors who provided real-world learning experiences, product critiques and ongoing encouragement
  • Invitation to join HA’s Vendor Facebook Group, an integral communication and support hub connecting youth to veteran and emerging makers

Scholarship recipients attended three workshops engaging them topics such as:

  • Entrepreneurship and maker skills
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Artistic practice
  • Product development and refinement
  • Pitch sessions
  • Merchandising
  • Craft materials and techniques
  • Marketing
  • Booth set-up
  • Local resources

Youth Makers in the Hands-on Handmade Activity Area

Situated on-site at Handmade Arcade’s annual event in December, the Hands-on Handmade Activity Area features a variety of drop-in projects, mini-tutorials, workshops, make-and-take activities, games, performances, large-scale art installations and more. Since its inception in 2011, Hands-on Handmade has not only been a place for people of all ages to learn the value of making something by hand and to become inspired creatively, but has also been an area that has welcomed student-run groups and organizations to facilitate activities by teaching and sharing their knowledge and skills with the public. Youth maker groups have taught a wide variety of craft, art, tech and maker skills, such as sewing by hand and with machines, bookbinding, vinyl sticker making, screen-printing, engineering, robotics, the art of upcycling and creative reuse, writing, design, illustration, paper crafts, sound art and more.

In addition to being given a chance to share their practice with Handmade Arcade’s extensive and diverse audience, all participating youth maker groups are reimbursed for their materials and are eligible to receive a free vendor table to sell their wares in the adjacent Handmade Arcade marketplace. This gives youth an unparalleled opportunity to participate in a real-world marketplace as both educators and entrepreneurs.

Youth makers have come from all over Western PA, Ohio and beyond to teach, make and learn.

Youth maker groups have included students from: