On Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Rayburn House Office Building was teeming with makers and artists showing off their stuff.  The Congressional Maker Caucus and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Making in the Arts exhibition shined a spotlight on the deep connections between making and arts for policymakers in Washington, DC.

As you would expect from an event that brought together the maker and arts community, 3D printing was well represented.  There was a sculpture generated by facial expressions:

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And 3D printed shoes:

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Along with 3D printed jewelry, organic sculpture, and all sorts of other models.  Naturally, making in the arts is more than 3D printing, and there were teams that create making opportunities for kids in their community and the New Craft Artists in Action showing off their basketball net crochet community engagement project:

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These events are important because they bring the vibrant art and maker community directly to policymakers.  While these projects might seem well known to the Shapeways community, for many Members of Congress this sort of event is their first introduction to what is happening in this world.  As we’re sure you probably also know, it is one thing to talk about making but quite another to show it to someone.

That is why Shapeways supported this event and are happy to be able to work with the Maker Caucus to help bring this world to Washington.  It is also gratifying to know that Making in the Arts is not an isolated event in the world of Washington, DC.  3D/DC and the Capitol Hill Maker Faire also help build bridges between making, arts, and policy.  So if you are in the Washington, DC area – or want an excuse to go there – keep your eyes peeled for their 2016 dates!

Images courtesy of Courtney Duffy.