Current Space Darkroom to Open this Spring

Story: Patrick McAllen
Multimedia: Kaitlin Newman and Samantha Iacia

I did this story for my journalism class this semester. Please check out this story, as well as other really awesome ones on my class blog called Better Baltimore. Patrick wrote the story and I took the photos in the video. 🙂

In a world that is dominated by instant gratification and digitized multimedia, a niche of traditional artists is growing.Patrick Galluzzo, a co-founder of the Current Space, a gallery located on North Howard Street in Baltimore, is captivated by the art of developing film.

“Being in a darkroom and watching the image appear from nothing, to see all these images with their unique tonalities, is really fascinating,” he said. “It’s born of magic. It’s alchemy.”

Current Space, an artist-run art gallery, opened in 2004. It is a studio and a place where artists, activists, performers, designers, curators, and thinkers can come together. Current Space is devoted to displaying, evolving, and expanding the reach of artists locally and internationally.

Upon opening the community darkroom, Current Space hopes to provide a space for photographers to develop black and white photography. It will also introduce film photography to anyone interested in learning.

The darkroom will offer public hours priced at varying rates. For $90 a month, photographers can gain unlimited access to the darkroom. A variety of beginner to advanced-level classes will be taught by Baltimore photographers. There will be courses and workshops on photo history, darkroom procedures and printing. There will also be a photo club and a photo-related lecture series.

Gallazzo partnered with Ginevra Shay, a fellow student he met at the University of Vermont, and Current Space. Together, they spearheaded plans for a community darkroom.

Shay said she decided to take the initiative to start a public darkroom shortly after she arrived in Baltimore because she didn’t know any photographers in the area.

“When I moved to Baltimore in January 2011, I reached out to Current Space about setting up a community darkroom,” Shay said. “Current Space’s co-director Michael Bennevento and I spent over a year collecting darkroom equipment through donations.”

After solidifying a mission statement and a game plan, the project quickly found success on Kickstarter, a website designed for people and businesses to achieve a public funding goal for projects they propose. Anyone can donate to a project.

“Our goal was $3,500 and we are at $5,177 today, and we still have a couple more days left,” Shay said.

Construction began on the darkroom in fall 2012 after the Current Space team met its goal on Kickstarter. The team plans to open the darkroom in April.

“When working in a dark room, you get exposed to photographer’s work, printing techniques and styles you would have never encountered if you were working digitally at home,” Shay said. “You learn a lot from other photographers in the darkroom. It also teaches patience and is a really meditative process.”

And that is what drove Current Space to build a six-station communal darkroom instead of one or two private darkrooms.

“A good analogy to think about in this digital era is that just because people are making digital and internet art, it doesn’t mean that everyone is abandoning printmaking, painting and drawing” Shay said. “It’s just another medium.”

4 thoughts on “Current Space Darkroom to Open this Spring

  1. It’s great to see something like this come to Baltimore. The only way for film photography to survive is for photographers to supports places like this. I know I will!

    • Agreed. I’m excited to go. Since I’m not an art major, it’s hard for me to get into the photo classes my college offers despite having department consent – the classes are just too full after art students register. I’m excited to have an opportunity to learn somewhere different 🙂

  2. Great news! Anxiously awaiting more news about the darkroom. I’ve known for a while that it was in the works, thanks to you! ! I know you will learn alot about processing your film and use the knowledge to the fullest!

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