Make way for creativity: After spending five years down the street (it’s their birthday this week!), educational arts nonprofit Assemble has moved to the Penn Mathilda Apartments at 4824 Penn Avenue.

The new space is larger, nearly double in size at 1,700 square feet. It is lighter, brighter, more accessible, and will help the organization better serve the community of Garfield, where their programming is focused. Assemble hosts affordable classes for kids focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) principles which help students build confidence through “making.”

Assemble provide a platform for learning through the creative process and engages artists, technologists, and makers with Pittsburghers of all demographics. Many of their classes and programs are targeted at children, including summer camps, maker nights and learning parties.

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Kids at the Cardboard! A Materials, Media and Me workshop in Assemble’s new space. Photo courtesy puppet maker master Meredith Hoppe.

The new location is handicapped-accessible, as well as more accessible to bus routes. “We are being the anchor at this end of Penn Avenue,” says Nina Barbuto, director and founder of Assemble.

With its floor-to-ceiling windows, the workspace is flooded with daylight. The goal is to attract more student makers by being in such a visible location.

“Kids are always walking by on their way home from school,” says Barbuto. “This space feels special. It says to the kids, ‘this is for you and you deserve to be special.’ ”

Assemble is important in children’s lives as a “third space,” says Barbuto. It’s not home and it’s not school so it gives kids a different space to learn and grow in — in this case, a completely open space with large shelving units on castors which can be used as walls and tacked up with artwork. There will be a homework station with a computer for kids to use, and thanks to a sponsorship with Ikea, Assemble will soon have new tables, chairs and cubbies for students.

“In our old space, jackets and backpacks were always getting piled up in the corner. Here kids will be able to have a place to keep their stuff,” says Barbuto.

Join Assemble on Saturday, August 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. for an Open House celebrating their new space and their five-year anniversary. The open house offers the chance for makers to come by and discuss partnerships, kids to suggest camp ideas, or just have fun and enjoy a piece of cake, says Barbuto.

Assemble will also be open during Unblurred September 2nd and NEXT 3 Days Garfield coming up September 9-12.

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A happy puppet maker in Assemble’s new space. Photo courtesy Meredith Hoppe.