The Cleveland Print Room is opening its community darkroom, and beginning a program of all-ages, all-skill-level educational photography workshops.

The opening signals Cleveland Print Room’s next step in its mission of serving the larger photographic community through its focus on hand-processed photography with an accessible community darkroom, collaborative workspace, gallery, and classes.

In 2005, Print Room founder Shari Wilkins noticed a troubling trend — many high schools, arts centers, and universities were actively downsizing and decommissioning their darkroom facilities, and eliminating traditional photography from their curricula. Also during this time, Polaroid ceased making their groundbreaking instant film, and Kodak discontinued their exceptionally stunning Kodachrome film. While digital photography has impacted the way people snap and share images, further opening up the once-expensive craft to the masses, Wilkins affirms that there is plenty to be said for the satisfaction of hand-processed photography.

Conveniently located on the first floor of the ArtCraft Building on Superior Avenue, the nonprofit Cleveland Print Room features a large community darkroom with eight enlargers. Still hanging in the gallery, the Print Room’s inaugural exhibit features stunning large-format pinhole camera photographs by Vaughn Wascovich, which will remain on display through February 28th.

Membership to the newly-opened Cleveland Print Room, which will allow members to use the darkroom facilities, runs $35 annually for individuals, $20 for students, with a fee of $15 for the first 3 hours of a session, and $5 per additional hour. For dedicated darkroom enthusiasts, there is also the HARDCORE CPR membership, which consists of an annual contract that runs $100/month and offers no hourly fees to use the darkroom, among other perks.

An Open House reception is slated for Friday, February 22nd, from 5-9 pm with tours of the darkroom available. To celebrate this event, visitors will be encouraged to make “Rayogram” prints in the darkroom. Come try your hand at the process made famous by artist Man Ray and celebrate this milestone for photography in Cleveland.


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