Help Keep Darkroom Arts Alive for the Next Generation

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Community Outreach | One Comment
Sydney and Alexis at ONWARD Summit

Alex and Sydney at ONWARD Summit

If you came to the Summit Lecture Series on Saturday March 1st, you should recognize the name Rush Arts Darkroom. They gave a great presentation about their project and asked for your help.

For those of you who don’t know what Rush Arts Darkroom is, let us give you a short introduction of who they are, why they need your help and what you can do to help them.

Rush Arts Darkroom is a project started by Sydney Dombrowski and Alexis Tingle, two high school seniors attending the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in Northeast Philadelphia. Their goal is to build a fully equipped darkroom at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in order to introduce the art of darkroom photography to future students.

The catalyst that led them to start this project was their encounter with photography during their sophomore year:

During our sophomore year, our media teacher, Louis Mazza, built a makeshift darkroom in a small supply closet and taught us how to construct our own pinhole cameras out of oatmeal cans. This room could only hold a handful of students at the time. We couldn’t go in and out of the room freely because paper was constantly being exposed due to it’s inconvenient location. There were multiple photos being developed at once and we only had one sink and one enlarger- making it difficult for every student to have their own personal time developing. The students lacked previous knowledge of what goes on in a darkroom setting- which made it harder for us to fully understand difficult concepts that come with this form of art. Despite the roadblocks we encountered, we instantly fell in love with developing our own photos by hand.

The project started with the idea of introducing the art of darkroom photography to their school. Later, they realized that a simple introduction wasn’t good enough, and the project expanded to providing future students with proper knowledge and access to a fully equipped darkroom.

This is a very ambitious project, requiring a lot of money, outside help, and time. Their goal is to raise $4,000 by their project deadline of April 2nd, 2014. So far, they have raised about $300.

Here’s how you can help them.

  • Visit their website and make a donation. Any amount will be greatly appreciated!
  • They are also in need for equipment donations. You can see what they need on their site as well
  • Finally, you can help them spread the word by sharing their website through Facebook and Twitter. The more people know about them, the more help they’ll get!

Easy, right?

By doing your share, not only will you help out future generations of Rush Arts students, but you’ll also be helping to keep darkroom photography alive through this great resource. As people involved in photography, let’s do our share to help traditional photographic arts live on into the future!

Donate Now »

1 Comment

  1. Joseph Feeney
    March 13, 2014

    There was a fully functioning dark room at George Washington High School in the former Print shop. This was in to the mid 1980’s, while the school had numerous different shops, and there were both photos and printing materials being developed in this dark room. It had a full range of equipment from the lights, trays, sinks, etc. I do not know if any or how much of this is still stored in the building, but knowing how schools can be, they may have some of much of the equipment in storage.

    Hopefully the equipment is still there and useful, and this helps you.


Leave a Reply