Nashville, Tennessee is "Music City," home to Jack White, Ben Folds, The Black Keys, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lady Antebellum, and more (we also have a few country bands.) But in addition to music, we also have a killer visual arts scene, one which we want to keep growing with the launch of the Nashville Community Darkroom.
We have the space; we have the equipment; we have the people, the willpower, the energy, the je ne sais quoi, the joi de vivre, and the skills to make one rockin' community darkroom. It's going to have everything: 15-20 enlargers (including 2 large-format), darkroom sinks, print dryers, lighted workspace, classroom space, and gallery space. A veritable smörgåsbord of photography delights.
It's going to be great.
So, who are we?
The cat's name is Ben.
Why are we doing a fundraising campaign?
We want to build out the darkroom so that we can get up-and-running as soon as possible. This will allow the public and NCD members to have access this summer, and have the darkroom ready for the start of the 2013-2014 school year for our partnerships with local schools and students.
The majority of build out is being done by NCD volunteers, but we need to raise money for the materials (and minor plumbing and electrical work). The $20,000.00 goal will cover the lumber, drywall and other stuff needed to configure and close in the darkroom space; venting and circulation; paper storage; gallery walls; hiring some folks to do the tricksy electrical and plumbing work quickly, efficiently, and safely. The rest of the goal will go towards our rent and utilities. The reason we're here is to raise enough money so that we can (1) actually build the darkroom and (2) operate the darkroom for 8-12 months without having to do major fundraising.
Once the build out is done we will open our doors (with a fabulous party and open-house available to most backers for FREE), and we'll start operations; with the money we raise here, we'll have time to work the kinks out and build relationships with the community without having to immediately shift into fundraising mode.
Wait wait wait. I don't live in Nashville. Why should I care?
First, because of the rewards (that's what we're here for, right?). For most of them, you don't have to be in Nashville to enjoy -- the prints (either the ones from the "Mamiya" tier or the "Hasselblad" or "Linhof Master Technika" tiers) can be sent to you. Same thing with the postcards, the t-shirt, the sticker, etc. The AC/DC film conversion reward ("Canon") can also be done remotely; just send in your film, and you get it and a digital version back.
Secondly, you'll be supporting both students (as we teach classes both in schools and at the darkroom) and artists (as they use the darkroom to create their work and exhibit it). We're hoping not just to have an impact in the lives of Nashville's students (photography is an incredible educational tool -- we're planning cross-curriculum projects (integrating science, English, and math) and view photography as a way to engage students and build motivation), but also to support up-and-coming photographers. We think those are pretty worthy goals. We're already in talks with a local gallery or two about displaying some NCD photographers' work. Maybe in the future you'll see some of it in a gallery 'round your neck of the woods.
OK -- back to the darkroom.
What's the space like?
The space we've identified is on Main Street in East Nashville. It's basically an open warehouse space, with a walled-in area already built in the middle (kind of like an office within a warehouse). The beauty of the space is fourfold:
(1) The built-in space in the middle of the warehouse will require much less construction than starting from scratch; it already has plumbing, electrical, bathrooms, and most of the walls we need;
(2) There are already other artists (at least one photographer and one sculptor) using other parts of the warehouse as studio space -- an artistic community in the making!;
(3) It's easy access from around the city (convenient to downtown and just a minute or two from interstate access) and has plenty of parking; and
(4) We'll be participating in the redevelopment of Main Street (i.e., proximity to Fat Bottom Brewing Company, Edley's BBQ, Bagelface Bakery, etc.).
One of our founding members is an architect, so he's drawn up our plans and put together some construction estimates (another founding member runs a construction crew, so she's going to hook us up with the professionals we need). Take a look at the plans below:
As explained in the video above, our plans provide space for 15-20 enlargers (including two large-format enlargers), a shared darkroom sink, lockers for storage, two bathrooms, film-loading closets, classroom space, lighted worktable space, and gallery space.
What's in it for you?
Glad you asked.
We have a plethora of rewards, from the very simple (eternal thanks on our website) to the Croesus-ean (12 one-of-a-kind art prints (one a month for a year), a plaque in the Nashville Community Darkroom in your honor, naming rights to our equipment, any of the NCD swag we offer, and a year's membership to the NCD), and everything in between.
Also, you get to see our HILARIOUS AND CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED UPDATE VIDEOS, which will be for backers only.
"Yeah, yeah update videos. Whatever. Let's get back to the stuff." Absolutely. Shall we sample the wares?
The NCD sticker (behold its glory)
The NCD t-shirt (one design; there will be others)
What are the photography rewards going to look like?
That's a good question -- a lot of them (obviously) haven't been taken yet, but we do want to give you a sense of the talent we have at the NCD. We have a bewilderingly large selection of work to look at, mostly because we have a ton of photographers involved in the project. If you want to see more, check out our website (to which we'll be adding more work over the next few weeks). Below we've included a curated set of our folks' work. These are the kinds of things you'll see in the postcard rewards, the "Mamiya" reward, and the "Hasselblad" and "Linhof Master Technica" rewards, and also gives you an idea of how talented these folks are (if you sign up for a photo session -- the "Kodak Brownie" or "Original Kodak" rewards -- you know they're going to do an excellent job).
Risks and challenges
Our biggest risk? That manufacturers stop making film and/or paper. No, just kidding. Our biggest risk is actually that the Earth will be hit by an asteroid and that all of us will die. WHAT WILL BE YOUR "REWARD" THEN?
In all seriousness, our biggest risk is that the NCD folks we're relying on for the the photography rewards up and disappear, either through the Rapture, or for some other reason. Honestly, it's not such a big risk (even though, as Southerners, we take the risk of the Rapture quite seriously). We have an awesome line-up of NCD photographers ready to take photographs, teach introductory classes, and provide the session and print-of-the-month rewards, but -- yes -- it's possible that one or a few of them will disappear, supernaturally or otherwise. It's OK, though. We have upwards of 30 photographers involved in the NCD founding, so if a few go away, we've got more to replace them. Don't worry -- those rewards are happening.
Our biggest challenge? Raising enough money to cover our rent. Leasing space for the NCD is going to take up between 80% and 90% of our budget (especially during the first year), and we don't want to set ourselves up for failure by raising just enough money to do build-out, but then having to turn right around and spend all our time fundraising every month just to make rent. The reason we've come to Kickstarter is that we can build ourselves a 8 month to 1 year cushion to give us time to get up and running, deliver rewards, and start building our community.
Is the NCD going to happen if the Kickstarter fails? Absolutely, just not right away. We've come here with the hope of raising everything we need for our build-out and first year of operation all at once, so we can simply focus on creating the best darkroom we can, and building up the NCD community. If we don't raise it all at once, we'll still get it done, it'll just be slower.
You want a little bit more from your pledge. In addition to the "Kodak Fun Saver" rewards (website listing, sticker), you'll get a high-quality digital scan of one of our Founding Nashville Community Darkroom artist's art prints. We'll give you a couple choices -- use it as a desktop background, phone background, or what-have-you (just don't sell it, please).
Who doesn't like mail? In addition to the "Vivitar 110" rewards (website sponsor, sticker, digital scan), you'll get a set of 5 hand-printed post-cards, made IN THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM by a founding Nashville Community Darkroom member. With literally hundreds of negatives being used, no two 5-card packages will be the same! Keep 'em as mementos, or send them to your friends and family. We're sure they'll appreciate them. Finally, you get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY! It will be a high-class catered affair, where you'll get to mix and mingle with Nashville's finest, tour the completed darkroom, and network with Nashville photographers and artists. Not to be missed!
For those wanting a memento: A founding member of the Nashville Community Darkroom will TAKE YOUR PICTURE (or that of someone else), and make you a one-of-a-kind print IN THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM (you choose: 4x6 or 5x7). We will offer several times and locations to choose from to get your picture taken. You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
For those wanting to give it a try: A founding member of the Nashville Community Darkroom will give you a STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL on printmaking IN THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM. You will receive hands-on training in a one-hour session, among a group of no more than 15 people. You will have the opportunity to work with negatives, an enlarger, and the appropriate chemicals in this step-by-step tutorial. Asking questions, and individual attention are, of course, a part of the deal. We will offer multiple times to choose from for your class, but will attempt to work with all backers at this tier to make sure they can attend. [Note: Beginners welcome. No need to bring anything with you; we'll supply the negative and the paper, though if you have a B&W negative you'd like to use, bring it!] You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
The package deal. You get all the awesome tangible rewards: An EXCLUSIVE Nashville Community Darkroom T-SHIRT, a 5-pack of our AWESOME HAND-PRINTED POSTCARDS, and a Nashville Community Darkroom sticker. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL: You'll also attain eternal digital glory, listed, as you will be, as a founding sponsor FOREVER on our website. You'll also get the high-quality digital scan described in the "Vivitar 110" tier and, finally, you get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
A combination of the "Kodak Brownie" and "Kodak Instamatic" tiers: A founding Nashville Community Darkroom member will shoot a photo of you, and then you will join us at the NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM for a one-hour, step-by-step tutorial as you/we collectively make the print of the photo we took! You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
What about those that swing both ways? AC/DCs? Not everything can be analog, we get that. That's why two of our founding members (Allen and Emily) are offering to convert your old analog video footage to digital! They've done this before (trust them; they are experts), and can handle 16mm, 8mm, Super 8, VHS, and more. They'll physically clean your video (to make a clean transfer and preserve it), repair it as needed, and get it to you how you want it (digital files, DVDs, etc.). They'll do up to 10 "pieces" (i.e., reels, VHS tapes, etc.) for you.
You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier. Finally, you'll receive a set of our HAND-PRINTED POSTCARDS, to get a little of that AC/DC feel. Analog? Digital? A little of both, please.
[Note: If out-of-town, shipping of the film is not included (shipping of the post-cards is, however). You must either drop off/pick up your film or pay shipping to/from us -- we will contact you directly regarding shipping prices, as they will vary significantly depending on what you send.]
A discount version of the combined "Olympus" and "Canon" tiers! If you want some AC/DC conversion, but also some Nashville Community Darkroom swag, this is the reward for you. You get the t-shirt, the post cards, the sticker, ETERNAL thanks on our website, and the digital scan, in addition to your video conversions. Finally, you get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier. [Note: As in the "Canon" tier, this price includes shipping of the NCD items, but not shipping costs of your film, if you are out of town. We will contact you directly about those.]
Your walls are a little empty. You will work with a founding member of the Nashville Community Darkroom to select an image from a collection, and that member will hand-make a 16x20 print of that image IN THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM. The finished print will be suitable for framing, and will almost certainly class up whatever living space you currently inhabit. You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
[Note: International shipping not included, because prices will vary substantially. We will discuss shipping costs with you directly.]
For the connoisseur. Founding Nashville Community Darkroom member (and NCD Board Member) Andrea Behrends (check her out: http://www.andreabehrends.com/) will do a photo session (e.g., headshot or album cover) with you. This typically runs around $500, so you're getting a heck of a discount, pardner! You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
A one-year membership to the Nashville Community Darkroom. This covers chemicals, orientation/training classes, and gallery fees (if you want to exhibit). A mad discount over what it will cost once the Kickstarter is over ($35/month for 12 months = $420, but you only pay $320! THE MATH JUST WORKS OUT). You also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
Bring out your inner Bettie Page and receive a two-hour portrait session of your choice with NCD supporter Jillian at Bombs Over Betty Photography! (check them out at http://www.bombsoverbettyphoto.com) This comes complete with hair and makeup by the amazing Tarryn (check out her work at www.tarrynfeldman.com). Normally, this runs around $650 so one lucky backer will be getting a staggering discount! And that's not all, you also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier.
For the serious artiste and/or fancy-pants collector. You will receive one fine art print PRINTED AT THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM (and at least 11x14) EVERY MONTH FOR A YEAR. That's 12 high-quality prints from a mixture of professional and accomplished amateur artists, delivered to you, in your fancy leather chair, over the course
of the year. ********************************************** Also, a piece of Nashville Community Darkroom Equipment will be named in your honor, along the lines of "The J. Rockwell Merryfeather Memorial Enlarger" (Note: You do not have to be dead to claim this reward). You will get to choose which piece of equipment, and how you want the inscription to read (No profanity, please. This is a family establishment). Finally, you also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier. In addition to public recognition and thanks at the event, you may even get a special chair.
You are Ansel Adams and/or have inherited his estate. You will receive one fine art print PRINTED AT THE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM (and at least 11x14) EVERY MONTH FOR A YEAR. Your prints will be one-of-a-kind, and different from those sent to the "Hasselblad" backers. ********************************************** Furthermore, the entryway to the Nashville Community Darkroom will have a plaque or other engraving, listing you as a "founding dynasty" member (or some such verbiage -- we'll discuss it with you). You get first dibs on naming a piece of Nashville Community Darkroom equipment in your (or someone else's) honor, as described in the "Hasselblad" tier. You can choose any or all rewards you want from the "Leica" tier and below. Finally, you also get an invite to our EXCLUSIVE NASHVILLE COMMUNITY DARKROOM LAUNCH PARTY, as described in the "Polaroid" tier. You *definitely* get a special chair, as well as public recognition and thanks.