Maker Challenge

The National Aviary Maker Challenge is a new initiative that launched July 1 to give 18 local makers the opportunity to work with the National Aviary in a first-of-its-kind collaboration to advance artistic entrepreneurship. The Maker Challenge features one local craft business, maker enterprise, or entrepreneurial artist each month.

Created in partnership with Bridgeway Capital’s Craft Business Accelerator and MONMADE, the Maker Challenge series engages makers in a multi-layered project that includes the design and production of a new product inspired by a specific bird species, with elements of the product design helping to tell the conservation story of that species.

Makers collaborate with National Aviary education staff in the creation of programming that connects visitors with the maker’s vision and design, and with the conservation story associated with each bird species. Throughout each maker’s designated month, the National Aviary helps promote the maker and the products he or she creates, which are available for purchase in the National Aviary’s gift shops and potentially other retail locations.

Admission to the National Aviary is not required to shop. Proceeds from the sale of the artwork support the National Aviary's education, avian medicine, and conservation programs both locally and internationally.


Makers of the Month     

Zak Kruszyinski and Kelsey Henson are our February Makers of the Month! They created puzzles, key chains, cutting boards, wooden stamps and children’s t-shirts inspired by our Andean Condors.


About the Artists:
 Zak and Kelsey design and build custom furniture and home goods in their Pittsburgh workshop. Their focus is on using high character, responsibly-sourced materials (whether salvaged or new) from which they try to use every last piece.The character of the materials inspires them. From nail holes to machine marks in century old beams, they are moved by the stories they tell and motivated by the challenge of bringing them to life.  


You can view more of Zak and Kelsey's work on their website.

Funding for the National Aviary Maker Challenge has been generously provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation.