Metis & I chatted about this today too. Bear in mind that Steve J. & the Leonardo's Basement (LB) crew do want to kinda spin Studio Bricolage (SB) off, as more of a teens & adults program only, with the serious tools & big projects. Right now they can't really do that from an organizational/legal standpoint, so it's all currently under the LB umbrella, as you say. SB is much more along the lines of what we want to be doing, and it will need a space much more like the sort of workshop concept that we've been thinking about, albeit casually.
I do like the idea of working together with Steve's group. My impression of the group we sat with last night was solid, thoughtful, well-connected, and easygoing. They've got a lot of depth and detail to the work they've done. Now, I think they would benefit from our energy, adaptability, and motivation, just as we would benefit from their experience & resources.
As far as "mission", well, at the moment, we don't actually have one. Sure, we like to build wacky things, hang out together, do show-and-tell with handbuilt props & maguffins, and brainstorm over beers. Some of us might play with a kitten or two.
But we have yet to formally define ourselves, let alone organize into some legally recognizeable entity. We might even decide once & for all not
to organize, leaving everybody free to do whatever the heck they want, with whomever they want.
I personally like the idea of aligning ourselves with MAKE: and MakeTV, but as far as being able to put together the best shop we possibly can, I think the bigger the group of like-minded and active folks we can aggregate, the better space we'll end up with... and the better the projects will be. Also, LB & SB feel like summer camp for science geeks, only year-round, which for me is really hard to beat.
The more we network...
re: classes--once we do have a shop, folks will be teaching all the time. You know, just training folks in on different equipment & procedures, for starters. And if we do hook up with Steve's group, very likely they'll continue handling the bulk of the more formal classes, as interest & expertise dictate, while the folks who have in-depth projects to build will continue building them. Different efforts can be underway in separate areas of the space simultanously.
Cities have neighborhoods, companies have departments, schools have grades; it's perfectly reasonable to expect that a Twin-Cities-area group of makers would actually be a collection of smaller groups with common interests, while still being unified by membership to a larger organization and (importantly) a really nice clubhouse: the Shop. I think it comes down to this: With the right workspace, everybody wins. And the larger & more diverse the group is, the better we can make that workspace.