The Nashville Community Darkroom
The Nashville Community Darkroom
Bringing the red light district back to Nashville. Join us and get prints, postcards, photography sessions and more!
Bringing the red light district back to Nashville. Join us and get prints, postcards, photography sessions and more! Read more
About this project
FILM IS DEAD. LONG LIVE FILM.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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