When one thinks of cities thriving in the tech market, San Antonio probably doesn’t come to mind. However, submerged in the diverse culture of fiesta and Spurs basketball, there is a tech community that has been evolving over the last half decade.10Bitworks is a hackerspace, an environment where hacker artists can come together and develop projects using technology as a medium. The hackerspace celebrated their fifth anniversary with a party open to the public on June 20 and I was lucky enough to venture over to the east side garage to learn more about their community.
My technological prowess goes no further than basic HTML and common design applications, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous jumping into this technological abyss. My anxiety immediately disappeared as I was greeted with warm smiles and friendly voices upon entering the garage-lab.10Bitworks is a learning environment and its members are ready to educate and share their knowledge with anybody willing to listen. I felt right at home walking through a gallery of projects and art manufactured on site. Every question asked was treated with the same amount of interest and purpose and everybody was treated equally regardless of their tech knowledge or experience.
Like our beloved Spurs, 10Bitworks emphasizes teamwork and have established an innovative community atmosphere. They have a board that is voted on every three months, but the members primarily run it. There is a diverse collective, each member having different specializations, working together.
There really is a niche for everybody and anybody. Co-founder Chris Hardee has a computer science background. Mary Elizabeth Cantu is the founder of Spare Parts, an art collective that recycles old junk and creates beautiful art, that has a strong presence in the garage-lab. Professor Joey Lopez teaches and is an adviser for the Convergent Media program at University of Incarnate Word and while also a 10Bitworks member, he has expanded the social media presence of the hackerspace over the last few years. I also mest Stevanie Fernand, the youngest member of the group. At age 16, she has utilized the hackerspace for her artistic and musical endeavors and is a prime example of why this place is so important. Thanks to 10Bitworks, she has access to resources otherwise unavailable to her.
10Bitworks offer several events and lectures throughout the year and are helping to put San Antonio on the map in the tech world. In just five short years, they have brought these minds together to both collaborate and enrich the community. It’ll be amazing to see what they do over the next five years and beyond.