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Despite failure of $7,500 online fundraiser, photographers press on with studio project

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The failure of an online fundraiser in November has not deterred two photographers who are seeking to transform an old second-story Paddock Arcade room into a large photography studio.

Christopher G. Bova and Sara A. Hendrix needed to raise $7,500 by Nov. 28 to receive funding for their business, to be called Photo Studio 16, according to the terms of the fundraiser launched in December on a website called Kickstarter. Though they had 25 donors who pledged a total of $1,611 during the two-month fundraiser, those pledges were canceled because the campaign goal was not met.

But the two Watertown photographers — who both own independent studios in the Paddock Arcade — still hope to finish the project in 2014 by raising funds in other ways, Mrs. Hendrix said. The 44-year-old, who owned a studio in Wisconsin before moving to Watertown in 2001, said the studio is designed to be a large space for photographers, models and makeup artists to practice their trades together.

Much work needs to be done to renovate the 960-square-foot studio, which the photographers leased in the fall. That lists includes installation of a pine plank floor, three partial walls, a partial ceiling and a storage closet. The whole project is expected to cost about $15,000.

“It might take us a lot longer now, because everything else (at the studio) needs to come first” and be paid for, Mrs. Hendrix said. “It will probably be six months or more, because we’re pooling profits from our businesses into this project. We might decide to come up with some more traditional ways of fundraising, or another online thing like Kickstarter.”

The photographers plan to operate the studio as a private, for-profit business by charging photographers and artists for use of the facility. Right now, the two photographers host “studio nights” for artists every month in which artists pay to participate.

Mrs. Hendrix said that although the project is for a for-profit enterprise, she believes enhancing the room at the Paddock Arcade will be a valuable addition to the community that people will be interested in supporting with donations.

“I’ve had other photographers ask, ‘Why should I fund your studio startup?’ But it’s not that kind of thing, because we don’t own the space and won’t be able to retain anything we put into it when we leave,” Mrs. Hendrix said. “It’s hard for us to put thousands into a building that we can’t keep, but we want this to be a quality project. We’re in photography as a business, but we also have an opportunity for other people to benefit from this.”

Mr. Bova, a graphic artist at Bernier, Carr & Associates of Watertown, was not available Thursday for comment.

Volunteers interested in completing work at the studio are encouraged to contact the photographers on Facebook (keyword: Studio13601).

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