The darkrooms at RayKo Photo Center, a 26-year-old photography institution that's spanned the medium's major transition from film to digital with copious resources in each discipline, will go proverbially dark at the end of April if not for the intervention of an individual patron or group of patrons.
Owner and proprietor Stuart Kogod announced the business decision in a recent letter to students and community member. "My strongest hope is that RayKo will be able to continue, but under the patronage of another individual," Kogod writes. "Or under the patronage of a consortium of individuals which could, or could not, include myself. With the right person at the helm, someone who has business skills and fire in their belly, RayKo could be a successful enterprise." The Weekly spotted Kogod's announcement yesterday.
As it stands, "The operation simply isn't generating enough income. As the proprietor, I will need to make some significant changes as I can no longer carry it alone. My intention here is to proceed with you informed and hopefully in a position to affect a favorable outcome."
RayKo Photo Center has been a hub of activity since its founding in 1991 and beginning in 2004 at 428 Third street with its 12,000 square foot facility. There, digital labs, studios, workshops, and gallery space form the largest public photographic community west of the Mississippi. Its closure would be a bleak outcome for hobbyists, professionals, and students alike: RayKo offers educational resources to regional and national non-profit groups and schools.
Changes will appear as soon as February 1, when RayKo's hours will be adjusted to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with Monday and Friday off. There are, however, still classes available in traditional darkroom and even historical and alt processes. As of now, the final exhibition at RayKo will be its 10th annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show.