Image Credit: Stephanie Rose Wood for Frankie Magazine
In 2018 we were fortunate enough to be awarded an 'Arts Investment Grant' by Moreland City Council.
This grant was for the project 'Developing NOIR Darkroom' and allowed us to cultivate our infant creative space into a more accessible and professional place.
In particular the goal was to finish constructing the darkroom that is the core operation of our business and purchase essential equipment we needed to run effectively and efficiently.
On top of finishing the darkroom we also had the chance to update various things around the space including brand new directional lighting in the gallery and implementation of some new safety measures around the property.
Many things needed to take place in our darkroom during this project to get it ready for public use.
The Arts Investment Grant aided in the following:
- Connecting running water to the darkroom space
- Connecting our Acid Neutralisation Dilution Tank
- Upgrading electric wiring and adding safety switches
- Installing new industry standard red safe lighting
- Installing new powerful exhaust fans
- Purchasing Anti fatigue non slip matting
- Purchasing a negative drying cabinet
- Purchasing a JOBO CPE3 processing machine
NOIR Darkroom also committed a budget towards the project that has been used alongside the grant to reach our goals.
This big grey box ensures that any photographic chemical that may accidentally slip down the sink is filtered out and does not pollute our waterways.
We wallpapered the hallway which livens up the space and also helps to seperate the darkroom space from the gallery.
This simple portable machine allows us to process colour films (and prints) on site and still maintain our do it yourself ethos.
Getting running water connected to our darkroom was a massive highlight. We also installed much needed shelving for chemistry.
Glow in the dark strips and exit signs were installed throughout the darkroom for safety when working in the darkness.
Anti fatigue non slip matting was purchased for the darkroom and hallways areas to minimise slipping hazards.
This cabinet dries films efficiently and dust free allowing patrons to be able to process and dry films within the hour.
We had new industry standard LED safelights installed to hang over each enlarger station.
Previous to this we had old recycled safelights which although were effective for darkroom practice were not as safe or energy efficient as current lighting technology.
These LED lights use far less power, do not overheat and provide enough light to allow patrons to see what they are doing without compromising their photographic materials.
A massive improvement to our creative space was the installation of brand new gallery track lighting.
Prior to this project we had big ugly fluro lighting in the gallery spaces which were garish, hard to work in, unprofessional and also a health issue for one of our lovely volunteers.
The new lights have completely changed the space for the better and allowed for a more calming and comfortable environment to both work in and visit.
Purchasing a laser printer has saved us hundreds of dollars and petrol in trips to Officeworks and also saved on time meaning we can be more efficient in all of our administrational processes.
Plenty of work was done outside the darkroom during this project.
The Arts Investment Grant aided in:
- Installing new gallery track
- Having all electrics rewired
- Purchasing a new laser printer
- Purchasing new safety signage
- Purchasing an accessible ramp
- Painting the alleyway with non slip paint
- Maintaining essential safety requirements
We purchased a new ramp for our front door entrance which allows people with prams, in wheelchairs or those with other accessible needs easy access to the space.
We purchase several new forms of signage to improve safety around the property. This included wet floor, exit and caution non slip strips. We also put glow in the dark strips for power outages.
We painted the concrete in our alleyway with non slip, grip paint. This is the only access point to our toilet during events and was a slipping hazard on wet days.
Although already in existence, part of this budget included maintaining essential safety around the property, including servicing our fire extinguishers and test and tagging our electrics.
Our electrical upgrades are an invisible but significant part of this project.
Being in an old building with old wiring we were concerned about the fire safety of the building, so one of the biggest contributions to this project was to have all of the electricity in the gallery and darkroom spaces rewired. We upgraded to smart boxes and had safe electrical fuses installed with overload switches.
All goals related to the Arts Investment Grant have been fulfilled but we still have a few things left to complete from our personal commitments to the project.
We are currently saving to purchase a data projector for the gallery and to install an art storage unit.
This is expected to be finished by the end of the financial year.