Press Advisory: Creating Lawrence, KS out of LEGO® Bricks

Back in 2014, KC Rising, committed to an initiative to raise the level of quality jobs to 10 of their peer cities by 2025.  A recent Kansas City Star Editorial communicated KC Rising’s vision.  “KC Rising’s areas of focus include education around STEM-related occupations, life sciences, transportation, ways to enhance the region’s global competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship and increasing our human capital.

The City of Lawrence and Play-Well TEKnologies will be collaborating on a community build on Sunday, April 9th, 2017 to build Downtown Lawrence out of LEGO® Bricks, while also introducing kids to various STEM-related professions.  The goal is to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math in a way that is tangible and fun.

Over 50,000 pieces of LEGO® and hundreds of families will converge at the Carnegie Building in Lawrence, KS, in an effort to build Downtown Lawrence and a part of Kansas University Campus, as a way to get more kids interested in engineering and other STEM and STEAM-related fields.

Location: Carnegie Building, 200 W 9th St, Lawrence, KS 66044

Date: Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Time: 2 PM – 3:30 PM & 4:30 PM – 6 PM (For the best video and photos, we recommend press arrive near the end of each session)

Contact: Erin Morse, erin@play-well.org, 816.945.9917

For more information, click on the link below:

Building The City of Lawrence, KS out of LEGO® Bricks

Here are examples of Play-Well’s City Builds around the country:

Atlanta, GA

Washington, D.C.

Hayward, CA

Here are additional examples of other large builds Play-Well has done around the country.

 

How To Turn Your Passion For LEGO® Into A Career

Retired LEGO® Master Model Builder Steve Gerling wearing one of our Play-Well Bow Ties.

Parents frequently ask us “How can my kid become a LEGO® Master Builder?”  Although we are not LEGO® Master Builders ourselves, we have met a few of them and we have spent a great deal of time in the world of LEGO®.  So, we decided the best way to answer these questions is to compile an extensive list of our favorite resources about the various paths of turning your love of LEGO® into a career.  

We apologize for the length, as we wanted to make it as comprehensive a list as possible.  If you have additional links you’d like to share, feel free to provide them in the comments below.  

We have broken it down into two sections:

  1. How Can My Child Become a LEGO® Master Builder?  
  2. Can I Get Paid To Play With LEGO® without becoming a LEGO® Master Builder?

We hope you find this helpful.

How Can My Child Become a LEGO® Master Builder – Comprehensive Resource List

Before we begin, we must first define a few job terms in the world of LEGO®.

LEGO® Master Builders are generally responsible for designing and building promotional displays for The LEGO Group, such as X-Wing, LEGO® Version of David Ortiz, and the Millennium Falcon.  There are currently only 7 LEGO® Master Builders in the world.

LEGO® Designers create the LEGO sets that you get to build with.

LEGO® Master Model Builders create promotional displays at LEGOLAND Parks around the world.

LEGO® Certified Professionals is a community-based program made up of adult LEGO® hobbyists who have turned their passion for building and creating with LEGO® bricks into a full-time or part-time profession.

What we found from our research is a complicated truth.  There is no specific route to become a LEGO® Master Builder. Master builders and designers come from all different backgrounds and all walks of life. Some builders didn’t even play with LEGO® as a kid!

Does your entire family consist of LEGO® fanatics? For the last seven years, we have been working with the Father and son duo, Dan and Chris Steininger, as part of LEGO® Kidsfest,. Chris has followed in his father Dan’s footsteps to become a father-son LEGO® Master Builder team! For the Steininger’s LEGO® really is a family affair.

Top: The son, Chris Steininger, and his family wearing LEGO® Bow Ties Bottom: The Father, Dan Steininger talking with an aspiring LEGO® Builder at the final LEGO® Kidsfest.

The LEGO® Master Model Builder world has been a bit of a boys club but the field is transitioning into an increasingly girl-friendly environment. In June 2014, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester hired their first female LEGO® Master Model Builder, Veronica Watson.  She was recently in a NY Times article, featuring her LEGO version of Picasso’s Guernica.   

Dana Brandsema, one of our awesome Play-Well staff, was a LEGO® Master Model Builder back in 2010 at San Diego’s LEGOLAND.  Here is her story on how she became a model builder:

If your daughter loves to create unique creations out of LEGO® make sure to snap a lot of photos for her portfolio.  One day she may be competing to become the next LEGO® Master Builder.

Not all of the LEGO® Master Builders spend their time making models for theme parks and discovery centers. Former corporate attorney, Nathan Sawaya left his job in New York City to become a full-time LEGO® artist. His brick sculptures have been featured in countless museums and galleries around the world.  He is best known for his Art of The Brick Exhibition, which CNN has called “one of the top global exhibitions to see.”

Many of the Master Builders we have come across have a background in the arts including fine art, cartoons and sculpting. Erik Varszegi didn’t play with LEGO® as a child but he did love comic books and Star Wars.

The LEGO® Blockumentary Series is a great resource for parents & kids who want to learn what it’s like during at an average day working for LEGO®.  Here is one of Dan Steininger.

If you would like to work at LEGOLAND as a LEGO® Master Model Builder, there is one rite of passage for everyone in this coveted job. The LEGO® Master Model Builder job interview is a live competition where LEGO® fanatics have to build against one another to earn the spot as the newest LEGO® Master Model Builder. Check out this video of a real LEGO® Master Model Builder build competition at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Arizona.

According to LEGOLAND staff, “passion and the agility of being creative” are key ingredients to becoming part of the LEGO® team.  Here is an infographic from LEGOLAND on how to become a LEGO® Master Model Builder. 

Quartz recently did an interesting interview with Erik Varszegi and asked him about becoming a Master Builder.   According to Eric, the harsh reality is, “Sadly, you probably have a better chance of being a pro basketball player.”  There are only 7 LEGO® Master Builders in the world.

That is no reason to be discouraged.  There are still hundreds of jobs with LEGO® besides being a Master Builder and working at the LEGO® company is a great way to climb through the ranks. You can start as a gluer, a model builder, product design, transportation logistics, engineering, game design and more. LEGO® is always hiring enthusiastic, passionate people. They have offices and build centers all over the world and many times model builders will have the flexibility to relocate. Check out their online job listings for more information.

Want to know what it is like to work at The LEGO Group Headquarters?  Check out this video and the Life At The LEGO Group YouTube Series here.

Can I Get Paid To Play With LEGO® without becoming a LEGO® Master Builder?

You sure can.  Another route to being able to play to build with LEGO® is to explore the world of AFOL:  Adult Fans of LEGO®.  An entire documentary called The LEGO® Brickumentary depicts the AFOL world and all the awesome people who are part of it.  

Quite a few people in the AFOL community have been able to turn their passion of LEGO® into a part or full-time job playing with LEGO®. One of those amazing people, Alice Finch, built gigantic models of both Hogwarts and Rivendell out of LEGO® materials.

Alice may not have the title of a LEGO® Master Builder, but all of her work communicates otherwise.  There is Miss Courageous, Millie Higert, who makes LEGO®-Inspired Jewelry.  There is the creative artist, Guy Himber, who makes fun, customizable pieces out of LEGO®.  Mariann Asanuma, a former LEGO® Master Model Builder, makes models out of LEGO® materials through her organization, Modeling Building Secrets.  Joshua Harlan and Matthew Kay turned their love of LEGO® into a film career where they spotlight the world’s top LEGO® builders and their creations on their youtube channel: Beyond The Brick.   They recently visited Alice Finch’s house to see her 4 Million LEGO® piece collection.

You can meet tremendous LEGO® builders and creators, just like them, at the AFOL events that happen all over the country and see some of their incredible creations.  Here is a list of these LEGO® Conventions.  

Here are a few other pretty amazing people creating phenomenal creations with LEGO® materials:

Jason Allemann of JKBrickworks

Yoshito Isogawa, who has written a few books about LEGO, including The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines

In our travels, we have met LEGO® Stop-Motion Animators,  photographers of all things LEGO® with huge followings on Instagram, writers blogging about their love of LEGO®, designers who create custom LEGO® Minifigures, as well as individuals making a living simply opening LEGO® kits to talk about them.  Check out this next example.

Do you think you are still too young to get paid to play with LEGO®?

Meet Evan, who started making videos of him playing with toys at 6.  He now has been doing reviews about LEGO® sets and other toys on his channel EvanTubeHD for the past 5 years.

His little sister also has a channel called JillianTubeHD.

How do we play with LEGO® at Play-Well?

At Play-Well, we play with LEGO® by teaching LEGO®-Inspired STEM and STEAM programs. Our hope is to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and innovators, as well as LEGO® Master Builders & Designers.  Our staff love getting kids excited about engineering while playing.  Here is how our staff plays:  

Some of our staff now help build huge structures out of LEGO® materials as a way to bring the community together.  Here is one of our favorite recent builds:

Want even more information about becoming a LEGO® Master Builder, artist or designer?  We have provided additional articles, interviews, and videos below.  If you see a great article or video missing from this list, let us know and we will add it.

LEGO® Master Builder Articles:

LEGO® Master Builder Interviews:

LEGO® Master Builder Videos:

Great Links That Are All Things LEGO®

 

Would You Like To Build Your City out of LEGO® Bricks?

For the past 3 years, we have helped cities around the country build their city out of LEGO® bricks with their community.  We have done small cities, big cities, sometimes even entire counties, all made out of thousands of LEGO® pieces.  Let us know if you’d like us to build your city out of LEGO® Bricks by clicking here.  Check out some of our city builds below:

Salt Lake Valley Build (Salt Lake City, UT)

Monterey Conference Center Build (Monterey, CA)

Building The City of Hayward & Alameda County (Hayward, CA)

Building Downtown Atlanta out of LEGO for Atlanta Science Festival (Atlanta, GA)

Building Gotham City at the National Building Museum (Washington, DC)

We built the City of Boulder with Boulder Public Library for Introduce A Child To Engineering Day (Boulder, CO) 

Creating The San Francisco Tenderloin District for Sunday Streets (San Francisco, CA)

Growing Urban Gardens at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport (New York, NY)

Building Washington D.C. out of LEGO® Bricks (Washington, D.C.)

Creating The San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake Resiliency Map (San Francisco, CA)

SF Families Built Their Neighborhood of Excelsior (San Francisco, CA)

Building Downtown Austin on New Year’s Eve

San Jose Earthquakes Start The Season Playing Well With Their Fans

We were lucky enough to be a part of one of the San Jose Earthquakes season opening events.

San Jose Earthquakes Mascot Q overseeing the construction of Avaya Stadium out of LEGO® Bricks.

San Jose Earthquakes Logo made out of LEGO® Bricks

Kids help build San Jose Earthquakes Avaya Stadium out of LEGO® Bricks

 

Playing Well At TedX On Board

We created a TedX Sign for TedXOnBoard in San Francisco.  It was made up of 15,000 LEGO® pieces and it was for the Conference: Uncharted.

If you’d like us to help out with your upcoming event, visit our Special Events Page Here.

Celebrating STEM Day at University of Notre Dame Women’s NCAA Basketball Game

University of Notre Dame’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Team hosted a STEM day for families and we were lucky enough to be a part of it.  We helped fans build the Notre Dame logo out of LEGO® Bricks and provided a few LEGO-Inspired Basketball themed projects for kids to play with.

ND fans build the Notre Dame logo out of LEGO® Bricks.

Over 900 People Helped Build Salt Lake Valley out of LEGO® Bricks

Over 900 people attended the Salt Lake County Valley Build today at Gene Fullmer Fitness & Recreation Center. Over 50,000 LEGO Bricks were used to build the Salt Lake Valley. Thanks Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation for having us!

A few local TV stations stopped by to capture the event:

Salt Lake Tribune’s article about the event: Kids use LEGO® to build their own Salt Lake County

Pictures Courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune

 

Play-Well’s Builds For Sports Teams

Over the past few years, we have worked with more and more sports teams, both on the professional and college level, providing fans to show their pride in their team by building their logos out of LEGO or participating in one of our LEGO Activations.  Here are some of sports teams we have collaborated with:

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For the Buffalo Bills last home game of the regular season, we helped fans build a 5000 LEGO piece Buffalo Bills sign.  Click on the link below for more info: http://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2016/12/24/fans-commemorate-season-with-buffalo-bills-lego-builds/

For University of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball STEM Day, we provided LEGO-Inspired STEM projects for their families to play with. http://blog.play-well.org/2017/03/06/celebrating-stem-day-at-university-of-notre-dames-basketball-game/

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For two of the Philadelphia Eagles Preseason games, we got fans to build the Eagles logo out of LEGO, as well as provide Eagles-Themed LEGO Activations.  They could even tackle a LEGo Tony Romo. http://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/building-the-philadelphia-eagles-logo-out-of-lego/

To open the 2017 San Jose Earthquakes season, we helped fans build the Avaya Stadium out of LEGO® bricks with the help of their Mascot Q. http://blog.play-well.org/2017/03/01/san-jose-earthquakes-start-the-season-playing-well-with-their-fans/

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We provided a LEGO Activation for the 2 days of the Chicago Bears Training Camp, as well as one of their preseason games. https://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/chicago-bears-start-off-training-camp-playing-well/

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For Super Bowl 50, we teamed up with the SF’s Make-A-Wish Foundation and the San Francisco 49ers to create a LEGO Event https://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/make-a-wish-49ers-play-well/

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We ran a LEGO Activation for one of the Houston Texans regular season games. https://playwelltek.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/tailgating-lego-with-the-houston-texans/

Before the K-State Wildcat’s big game against the Texas Tech Raiders, we created basketball-themed play activities for the fans. http://blog.play-well.org/2017/03/05/helping-k-state-wildcats-fans-play-before-the-big-game/

Click HERE if you would like us to create your sports teams logo out of LEGO or bring a LEGO activation to your next game or event.

Play-Well and Fidi Families Team Up in NYC

 

Our amazing staff!

Our amazing staff!

On Saturday April 9th, Play-Well partnered with Fidi Families for their Out to See event at the South Street Seaport. We had a wonderful time and Insomnia Cookies were even there! Yum! Check out this fantastic video about our magical day at the seaport!

 

Would like to have Play-Well at your next event? Take a peak at our special events page and submit a request. We love partnering with fun organizations to provide interactive LEGO-Inspired engineering workshops.

Delicious!

Delicious!