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.


Maker of the Month 


April Minech is our September Maker of the Month! She created pieces inspired by our Lorikeets, which are available in our gift shop.

About the Artist: Animal welfare has always been a driving influence in April Minech’s life.  With a starting role as a shelter dog walker 15 years ago, she began a journey that would merge her background, love of animals, and artistic abilities into the distinct work she produces today. For the past 3 years, she has worked out of her McKees Rocks studio painting and illustrating a large number of shelter and rescue animals, or pets that are owned by the people supporting these efforts. April donates at least 50% of her work and proceeds to animal welfare groups. To see more of her work, you can visit her website.

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