LOWELL -- Giovanna Aviles, a UMass Lowell graduate with the class of 2010 and local artist and photographer, is working with UMass grads Jessica Hosman and Derek Matias to launch a community darkroom space that will be open to the public.

Aviles, a Lowell native who rents studio space at UnchARTed Gallery downtown, has been working for more than a year to make her dream a reality with her colleagues. She and the group have been working to convert one studio at the Merrimack Street gallery into a fully equipped darkroom that will be available for rent for about $25 a month.

They've had help from many volunteers and held two fundraising events for the project last summer.

Aviles, 26, said she is hoping the darkroom will be open and ready by mid-May, in time for Lowell Photography Weekend on May 17-18.

She said that since graduating from UML, she said finding available darkroom space is difficult. She hopes the space, with donated equipment, will be helpful for artists in the Mill City.

"I'm so proud of being from Lowell right now," Aviles said. "The downtown area has grown into such a rich environment and a community for everybody and local artists. Lowell is so welcoming and supportive of that."

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ uncharteddarkroom.

Follow Samantha Allen on Twitter and Tout SAllen_89.


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