Here are some random thoughts about starting a community focused darkroom. These thoughts are fueled by not enough sleep and a half a pot of coffee and I don't even know if any of this is possible to do in a small town like Ukiah, but I had to get it out of my head.
Mendo Photo Works would be a community darkroom space independently maintained and organized by its members. The darkroom would be located somewhere in the downtown Ukiah Area and if space allowed, would be large enough to hold networking events, workshops, gallery showings and feature a small retail space selling film related supplies; cameras, film, etc.
The darkroom would provide its members with access to film developing equipment and access to both wet and digital printmaking supplies.
A community space likes this would enable its members to give back to the community by donating their time and talents to other non-profit organizations and outreach programs such as Mendocino County Youth Project, The Ukiah High School, and the Mendocino County Library. Ideally, the darkroom co-op members would be published on a regular basis through various outlets such as zines, books, as well as online via newsletters and ebooks.
Members' occupations and backgrounds would vary dramatically, only sharing the same love for photography. Social media activity and an online website presence would help facilitate print and book sales to customers all over the world.
These ideas are roughly based on offerings by Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco. I will continue to explore them over the next few weeks to see where they take me. Funding is going to be the biggest issue of doing something like this, obviously.