North Texas Makers was founded in 2019 by Madison (Mercer) Schmidt and David Baker. The two met while working at a brewery and event space in Denton, where Madison managed events, and David contributed to marketing and visual aspects. Madison and David combined their skillsets and shared passion for art to host several art shows and festivals. What began as a small monthly art show has evolved into an arts organization dedicated to creating a space for small businesses and creatives to thrive.


North Texas Makers was established in 2019 by Madison (Mercer) Schmidt and David Baker, who initially met while bartending. Their path to creating an arts organization began working at Armadillo Ale Works in Denton, Texas. While both served beer, Madison worked as an event planner and manager, while David contributed to marketing and visual aspects, creating social media assets, merchandise, and murals. The two connected over their experience as art students at the University of North Texas and shared a passion for participating in local art shows. 

Their involvement in the arts began with Fold Festival, Denton’s most prominent annual print show, hosted at Armadillo Ale Works. Building a close relationship with the event’s founder, Jacob Vasques, Madison and David witnessed the event’s growth until its third and final show in October 2019, leaving a void in the community for an affordable creative event accessible to students and small businesses.

Recognizing the need, Madison and David seized the opportunity to address this gap and, with Jacob’s approval, rebranded the event to Denton’s Best Fest. With Madis’s event planning and management expertise and Davids’s professional marketing and design skills, the two were well-equipped to build a thriving arts event. Their initial plans to hold the event in early April 2020 with around 30 artists, three bands, local food trucks, coffee, and beer were disrupted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, leading to several postponements.

Despite the setbacks, the founders used the time to rebrand the event, overhauling the visuals and changing the name to Denton Makers Fest. The pandemic also provided DM with the opportunity to get creative. The team used the covid restrictions to branch out from only doing an annual event. During this time, the two maintained connections to the creative community by hosting virtual and covid safe in-person events. This expansion prompted the team to drop “fest” from their name later and settle on Denton Makers. Finally, after two years, Denton Makers Festival came to fruition with an impressive lineup of 65 artists, three bands, 3 DJs, three venues, a Juried art Show, and various food vendors and trucks. However, challenges persisted as their primary venue, Armadillo Ale Works, closed shortly before the event. With determination and perseverance, Madison and David reorganized the festival while seeking new employment. The event turned out to be a resounding success, surpassing their expectations. With this latest success, the team set their eyes on continued expansion, with the eventual goal of hosting its largest show on the Denton Square.

The triumph of Denton Makers caught the attention of Joshua Butler, founder of Thin Line Fest, and they decided to collaborate rather than change dates due to venue conflicts. This partnership allowed Denton Makers to access a financially stable and older demographic while providing Thin Line access to a younger audience. The goal to host their event on Denton Square was achieved through this collaboration, offering increased visibility and foot traffic.

Following the 2023 collaboration’s success, Madison and David expanded their team by bringing on Samuel Wiggens, a longtime Armadillo Ale Works regular, artist, regular seller at DM events, and fellow UNT art student alum. With aspirations to evolve into an arts organization, the trio is now dedicated to expanding its reach beyond Denton, aiming to offer more than just an annual event. To reflect their rapid growth, they decided to rename the organization. Thus, North Texas Makers was born. 


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