EXODUS - Photo collective moves to Westbrook

The Bakery Photographic Collective is looking for new members as part of its move to a much-larger space, in Westbrook, than the group has occupied in Portland. The group recently signed a 10-year lease on 4000 square feet in the Dana Warp Mill on Westbrook's Presumpscot riverfront, and hopes to move in July 1.

The group previously occupied 800 square feet in the old Calderwood Bakery building on Pleasant Street in Portland. Group co-director Tanja Hollander says the group has not yet decided whether to change their name after the move out of the bakery, though she says she hopes to add "at least five" new members to the 25-photographer collective before the move, now that there will be more space available.

It will also provide an opportunity for the collective to offer classes for amateur and professional photographers, as well as children, starting in the fall, Hollander says.

"The space is so incredibly beautiful and amazing" with big windows and lots of light, and will be built out to provide exhibition space, eight darkrooms, and a photo studio.

"It's crazy how cheap it is," Hollander says. The cost per square foot has dropped from $12 in the Bakery building to $4.50, making five times more space available for less than double the cost.

And the group got a revolving downtown revitalization loan from the city of Westbrook, with a 5 percent interest rate.

"We really wouldn't have been able to do it without that kind of interest rate," says Hollander. The building has "a good energy," with tenants including painters, woodworkers, printmakers, and a jeweler. It is also near Chicky's Fine Diner, a popular arts and music venue, and Hollander says the collective has already approached owner Chicky Stoltz about finding ways to work together.

Developer Tim Flannery, who owns the mill and built the One Riverfront Plaza office building across the street, sold the Riverfront Plaza building in November, according to the American Journal. Flannery told the Journal then that he expected to keep ownership of the mill. He did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

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