Emer­gent Arts of­fers dark­room in Spa City

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - — Sean Clancy

There’s a dark new fea­ture at Emer­gent Arts in Hot Springs.

A dark­room.

The arts education cen­ter at 341-A Whit­ting­ton Ave. opened its dark­room in the spring for pho­tog­ra­phers and those in­ter­ested in learn­ing film pho­tog­ra­phy.

“We just got it com­pleted and we’re work­ing with a cou­ple of pho­tog­ra­phers here in town to de­velop some work­shops,” says Erin Hol­l­i­day, Emer­gent Arts ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. “We’re still work­ing out the process and the best way to pro­vide ac­cess.”

Emer­gent Arts is a non­profit group whose mis­sion “is to fos­ter cre­ativ­ity among emerg­ing artists of all ages and abil­i­ties,” Hol­l­i­day says. Classes in­clude belly danc­ing, ce­ram­ics, paint­ing, tai chi and oth­ers.

The dark­room came in re­sponse to artists who worked with film in high school and col­lege and wanted to have a space for that at Emer­gent.

Hol­l­i­day, whose gad­get-lov­ing dad is a pho­tog­ra­pher, didn’t have to look far for gear.

“I had some dark­room equip­ment at home that I hadn’t looked at in at least 10 years,” she says, adding that the rest of the items were do­nated from other sources. “We have three en­larg­ers, a 6-foot-long wash-out sink and dozens of trays, pa­per. Ev­ery­thing has been do­nated. Other than chem­i­cals, we haven’t had to pur­chase any­thing.”

Among the do­na­tions was a sup­ply of ex­pired film from the Mid-Amer­ica Sci­ence Mu­seum.

“We handed it out to any­one who wanted to take pho­to­graphs,” Hol­l­i­day says. “Some of the negatives were pro­cessed here, some were pro­cessed else­where, but ev­ery­thing was printed here.”

The re­sults were shown in the re­cent “Ex­pired Film Ex­hibit” at Emer­gent’s Cir­cle Gallery.

While Hol­l­i­day and her Emer­gent Arts co­horts fine­tune their dark­room process, sched­ule and price struc­ture, the space is still open to those who want to check it out and even give feed­back about the dark­room and what Emer­gent can of­fer pho­tog­ra­phers.

“We’re pretty open and easy when it comes to peo­ple us­ing our space and tak­ing our classes,” she says. “We’re here for ev­ery­one else.”

Con­tact Emer­gent Arts at (501) 655-0836 or emer­ge­narts.org.

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