Megan McNally: Building an Artisan Incubator and Creative Community Space

Megan McNally arrived at Yestermorrow full of exuberance, creative energy, and the desire to use her hands to build a better world.

Before coming to Yestermorrow, Megan took a semester off from her studies at Barnard College and returned to her Rust Belt hometown of Buffalo, New York. With a leadership award from Barnard, Megan bought a run-down house for $3,000 at a tax auction. She found builders to offer free skill-sharing workshops, using her house renovation as a real-world classroom. Her resurrected home became a can-do kind of place—the house project empowered women in the building trades as well as provided start-up support for an earthen-oven bakery.

A six-month detour to Yestermorrow provided Megan a chance to delve more deeply into design and woodworking under the mentorship of some of Yestermorrow’s finest teachers. Returning home committed to building a local living economy in her community in Buffalo, Megan launched Rusted Grain, a woodworking collaborative focused on the reuse of salvaged wood from local deconstruction projects.

Drawing on her past experiences in start-up support and understanding the need for tool access in a depressed economy, Megan also co-founded The Foundry, a warehouse turned shop space for artisans, tradespeople, and small businesses. Rusted Grain was the Foundry’s first tenant; there are now over 15 businesses working out of the space.