Get Your DIY On With New Downtown Workshop Series

The Downtown District and Pop Shop America bring the do-it-yourself movement to Houston with new DIY Downtown series.
The Downtown District and Pop Shop America bring the do-it-yourself movement to Houston with new DIY Downtown series. Courtesy of Pop Shop America
Want to infuse your booze and learn about cocktail bitters in the cellar of Local Foods? Lounge by the Aris Market pool and build your own terrarium? Learn the secret to a good dipped spoon on the roof of the Sunset Coffee Building?

Well, now you have your chance. The Houston Downtown Management District has partnered with do-it-yourself blog Pop Shop America for DIY Downtown, a series of six crafty workshops on the second Wednesday of each month in some unique pop-up locations across the Downtown area.

The Downtown District is responsible for programming at Market Square Park and Main Street Square, and Angie Bertinot, their director of marketing, says for years they’ve wanted to do something smaller and less site-specific than their usual concerts and art markets. The problem? It would also have to be original and fit their brand, which she describes as “progressive, a little bit edgy, a little bit fun [and] not afraid to get our hands dirty.”

Like their “silly success story” Blanket Bingo, a regular sell-out that was born from taking an activity that was trending high in the public consciousness (bingo) and moving it out of its usual setting (the bingo hall) to an outdoor park, the DIY Downtown series will embrace the do-it-yourself movement while giving participants an “inside look” at “a neat cross-section of spaces in Downtown” – some of which are not normally open to the public.

“We didn’t want to just do [the workshops] at restaurants or just do them at residential properties,” says Bertinot. “We also were looking for unique spaces within those spaces.”

So, in addition to the activities in the Local Foods’ cellar, at the Aris Market pool and on the Sunset Coffee Building roof, you can also make candles at the high-end Le Meridien; create a shadow box with 3D papercut art on the Rec Room stage; or design your own coffee mug at WeWork, opening this spring in the Great Jones building at the corner of Main and Capitol.

Though the venues may be new to many Houstonians, Bertinot says each workshop will be beginner-friendly and kick-back fun, with Local Foods not only hosting one event, but providing tasty treats for all. Not for nothing, beer and wine will also be provided.

“We want it to feel like you’re going to a friend’s house to do a crafty project,” says Bertinot. “We really want to make people feel special [and] make people feel at home because, ultimately, we want Downtown to be people’s home.”

Bertinot says if the series is successful, she can definitely see it continuing and spreading the love throughout Downtown, but for now she, like the rest of us, is just trying to decide which workshops she might want to do.

“I’ve signed up with two of my girlfriends to do the terrarium one [and] I’m working the cocktail one or I’d probably be doing that one as well,” says Bertinot, adding with a laugh, “I have a feeling that I’m going to be doing several of them throughout the season.”

Workshops are scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 14 at Local Foods Downtown, 420 Main; April 11 at Aris Market Square, 409 Travis; May 9 at Rec Room, 100 Jackson; June 13 at Sunset Coffee Building, 1019 Commerce; July 11 at Le Meridien, 1121 Walker; and August 8 at WeWork, 708 Main. For more information, please visit $35.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.