Make believers

Hardesty Center for Fab Lab Tulsa has grown from an MIT concept for fostering innovation to a privately funded, stand-alone facility where Tulsans can take projects from concept to creation.



San Miguel Catholic Middle School students work with Fab Lab Tulsa volunteers. Fab Lab also operates educational programs with Kendall-Whittier Elementary School and Street School.

Fab Lab Tulsa began as a concept but has evolved into a national model.

It celebrates its first full year in its permanent space Sept. 13, a far cry from the original idea imported in 2008 and cultivated by a handful of friends.

Fab Lab is short for Fabrication Laboratory. The idea originated in 2001 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a community outreach project meant to use technology to foster innovation. It’s a long way from Cambridge to Tulsa and a long way from the original MIT plan to what has become sort of a master idea for a stand-alone facility where users generate new ideas and new products.

Matt and Diama Norris started Tulsa’s Fab Lab. He’s an engineer with Spirit AeroSystems who heard about Fab Lab when MIT officials talked with Spirit about putting a facility in Wichita. Diama is a public policy specialist with Community Action Project (CAP) who also had contacts with MIT.

They visited the MIT Fab Lab “and came back energized,” says Anne Pollard, another early Fab Labber. They recruited a couple of friends, Dr. Robert Strattan, a University of Tulsa professor, and Dan Moran, one of the founding members of Fab Lab Tulsa and secretary of the board of directors.

Their first funding came from Jeff Gettys, vice president at a company called Callidus, which has since been sold to Honeywell. His daughter is a friend of Diama’s and introduced him to the Fab Lab. He put up a significant amount of money to buy the first equipment, computers and accessories.

Pollard was involved with Kendall Whittier Main Street, a program that works to promote and restore the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, and heard about Fab Lab through Moran. She jumped aboard.

“It took us a good three years to get going,” Pollard says. “That core group put blood, sweat and tears into it. … That was our other job.”

A major breakthrough came when Michelle Hardesty took a look.

“She is an incredible visionary,” Pollard says. “She took a look at us and took a leap of faith.”

The Hardesty Foundation, which she runs, became the naming sponsor.

Another friend of Pollard’s, Deborah Zinke, owns property in the Kendall Whittier area.

“She is an advocate for community development,” Pollard says, and  provided a building at East Seventh Street and South Lewis Avenue.

The Fab Lab has computers and devices to cut, drill, machine, engrave and slice non-metallic materials in a variety of shapes and forms. It also has hand tools, such as soldering irons, and equipment to fabricate electronic devices.

Non-metallic components can be used as patterns for items constructed from metal.

The response since Fab Lab’s facility opened “has been tremendous,” says Nathan Pritchett, a former partner in a technology business who became executive director in February. “We’ve had a large influx of artists, hobbyists, designers … people who make a large variety of products.”

It also operates educational programs with the nearby Kendall-Whittier Elementary School and Street School, an alternative high school and therapeutic counseling program. TU’s University School also brings students from its summer camp.

“We’re also seeing a lot of entrepreneur and venture types trying to develop products or start a business,” Pritchett says. “They have had ideas but no resources.”

Serving as a resource is what Fab Lab is all about.

Most Fab Labs are sponsored by educational institutions or nonprofit organizations. Tulsa now has one of “the largest Fab Labs anywhere,” Pollard says, and it has become “kind of a model for a new type of Fab Lab that is a stand-alone facility, independent and privately funded.”

The Hardesty Foundation is the major funder, but Fab Lab also receives support from the Chapman Charitable Trust and the Kaiser, Zarrow, Frank and Bank of Oklahoma foundations, among others. It receives no government money.

It hasn’t produced any major innovations or new products yet, Pritchett says, “but we’re optimistic that something like that will come.”

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August 2018

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

At the 16th annual Senior Star Round-Up, older adults will enjoy live music, dancing, refreshments and door prizes as they gather at the legendary Cain's Ballroom on August 12 from 2 - 5...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

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Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

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 The Mabee Center will come alive in a colorful expression of dance, drum music and song as members of tribal nations from around the country gather to honor, strengthen and share traditions...

Cost: $7-$15

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Struggling young playwright William Shakespeare, penniless and indebted to two demanding producers, is tormented by writer’s block until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps, daughter of a...

Cost: $20

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: 918-596-7111
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

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Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Hues for HOPE will include original art created by Oklahoma artists as well as art created by families around the world impacted by peroxisomal disorders. The evening will consist of...

Cost: $75.00

Where:
The Pearl District Building
1209 E 3rd St
Ste 181
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Global Foundation for Peroxisomal Disorders
Telephone: 817-874-9609
Contact Name: Ashlee Cabrera
Website »

More information

Starting 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in August and through September, we're teaching a progressive lindy hop swing dance series! Come learn from Kasey and Laurel, some of the best lindy hop...

Cost: Lesson: $12 Social Dance: FREE

Where:
Willows Family Ales
418 S. Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Barrelhouse Swing

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Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Where:
Mulligan's Sports & Spirits
10918 E 41st St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Oklahomans for Equality announces a new musical cabaret series: “Third Thursdays in the Rainbow Room. Each Third Thursday of the month will feature one of Tulsa’s finest musical...

Cost: $15 Bistro Seating / $10 G/A

Where:
Dennis R Neill Equality Center
621 East 4th
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahomans for Equality
Telephone: 918-637-2866
Contact Name: Pat Hobbs

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Show More...
Show Less...

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Eclectic Disposition aka "DJECOG" hosts A monthly all styles dance event at the Boxyard. ​This 18+ event caters to many of the social dance scenes in Tulsa. if you are...

Cost: free

Where:
the boxyard
502 East 3rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: eclectic disposition
Telephone: (918)640-1119
Contact Name: Matthew Adams
Website »

More information

Show More...
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The Muskogee War Memorial Park: Home of the USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s only submarine, is hosting its annual Living History Day: Summer Cruise! For the USS Batfish Living History Day, the...

Cost: $4-$7

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Road
Muskogee, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Join us for our first ever Food Truck Frenzy event! We will have a variety of delicious food trucks located in our own back yard. Grub down while listening to the band Moonshine...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

Roughneck Roller Derby vs Northwest Arkansas Rollergirls Don't miss out on this family-friendly, hard-hitting fun! Kids 12 and under FREE!! Tickets: Advance - $8 At the Door - $10...

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Ninowski Recreation Center
1367 E 71st St S
Broken Arrow, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Roughneck Roller Derby
Website »

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If the Oklahoma summer has you turning into a puddle inside your shoes, then beat the heat and chill out with the coolest comedy improv troupe in town! Come join our biggest fans (ceiling) in...

Cost: Admission is $8.00 ($4.00 for children under 12)

Where:
PH Community House
306 South Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

More information

Eclectic Disposition aka "DJECOG" hosts A monthly all styles dance event at the Boxyard. ​This 18+ event caters to many of the social dance scenes in Tulsa. if you are...

Cost: free

Where:
the boxyard
502 East 3rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: eclectic disposition
Telephone: (918)640-1119
Contact Name: Matthew Adams
Website »

More information

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TULtalk


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