APPLETON – A one-of-a-kind visual workspace is coming to the Fox Valley.
Photo Opp, an organization supporting local photographers and videographers, launched last month in Appleton. The nonprofit plans to create a workspace — which will include a studio for photo and video shoots, a darkroom for developing film and much more — for amateur and professional visual artists alike.
The organization’s mission is to improve education and career development in the photography and videography fields, co-founder Graham Washatka said, while creating an inclusive environment where beginners and pros can learn from one another.
“We started Photo Opp with photo and video education in mind since school districts can’t keep up with the digital trends and we want students to be able to learn from working pros,” Washatka told The Post-Crescent. “We’re looking to help with the career pipeline of content creators and visual storytellers that our local businesses need.”
Washatka, John Adams and Mark Farrell — all noted multimedia professionals in the Fox Cities — came together with the idea of creating a communal workspace for local photographers and videographers. They hope that vision will become a reality in summer 2022, when they expect the Photo Opp workspace at 621 N. Bateman St. to be ready for use.
The Photo Opp building, located just a few blocks north of downtown Appleton, was originally built as a synagogue in the early 1900s and has also previously been used as a church, giving Washatka and his team plenty of space to work with. It’ll feature a large studio for photo and video shoots; a darkroom for film processing and printmaking; a podcast room for audio and video work; digital workspaces with digital printing and scanning; and a green room.
“The building’s in great shape,” Washatka said. “It’s been well loved and well taken care of, so all of the remodel is basically just customizing it to what we need.”
In addition to being used as a workspace for photographers and videographers, Photo Opp also plans to offer classes, workshops, discussion panels and more. Washatka said Photo Opp hopes to partner with area school districts and other local youth programs, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Appleton, to serve as a learning space for students.
“Photo Opp offers a support system and a means to learn the artistry of storytelling, and I think it will be really neat to see as a community what moments we can capture, what skills we can learn, what ideas we can spark, and what connections we’ll make,” Photo Opp president Amy James said. “I think one of its most meaningful roles is helping the community to tell its story through videography and photography.”
“One thing that we really want to make sure of is that we are being absolutely inclusive and opening and …….