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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Chicago Photography Center NFP

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth

Mission: Our mission is to foster a broad community of photographers who practice and appreciate the art of photography by offering a variety of classes and exhibition activities; sustaining a corps of volunteers; sharing our cameras with overlooked and underserved communities; and providing a vibrant, welcoming environment in which all this happens.

Results: The Chicago Photography Center continues to increase its class offerings, reach new constituencies and develop new opportunities to under-served communities.

Target demographics: General public

Community Stories

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4 Steven13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I went here first around five, six years ago and was met by the founder and director at the time and he was extremely rude to me. He knew me and my work and purposely went out of his way to try humiliate me. I have been around the block a few times, I wasn't going to intimidated. Then I heard he was terminated. I decided to give the place another chance. Since then I have been back numerous times, from openings to benefits. I was soon asked to be an instructor there and have been since. I find CPC to be a wonderful and supportive community of people who care about the world of photography. They are a committed bunch and I will always be part of this community.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The Chicago Photography Center has been EVICTED from its space on Lincoln Avenue. They
owe tens of thousands of dollars in back rent and real estate taxes they are responsible for.

Comments ( 1 )

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karen.egerer 11/21/2013

After ten wonderful years at the Lincoln Avenue location, the Chicago Photography Center is moving. CPC will continue to offer the best photography classes in the area taught by professional photographers; offer first class exhibits by students, as well as internationally recognized photographers; provide a monthly peer critique; offer lecture series; and continue its Outreach Program to under-served communities. Check out the long list of positive and truthful reviews on this site.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have long had a passion for photography, having taken classes and taught in college and having been a member of several photographic organizations over the years. Going to galleries and seeing photographic displays is important to me, but sharing my work and ideas with other photographers as well as having discussions about the medium and its history gives me special pleasure. This is exactly what I found at the Chicago Photography Center, peers with knowledge about the medium and its history who are willing to discuss work in critiques and further to discuss the principles and skills that are beneficial to that work. The Center offers facilities in which to create your own images, from darkrooms, to computers and printers, to lighting studios. It offers classes in which to further one’s understanding of photography. It has a gallery space to show the work of members and other artists. It is not a one-dimensional organization, but a place that allows photographers to pursue the knowledge required to grow from beginners to sophisticated professionals with an artist perception of the discipline. A center like this is essential to a thriving and sophisticated photographic community in a city such as Chicago.
Michael Berns

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Chicago Photography Center is a wonder organization and I love attending their events. They are extremely professional and friendly to all who visit them and an asset to the community at large. Keep up the fine work CPC!

Diane77

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined Chicago Photography Center as a member almost 2 years ago and took a few classes. I found the community warm and supportive and the classes were fantastic. My work was part of an all student exhibition in July of 2012 which was a fantastic experience. Late 2012 I became a member of the board of directors to help CPC continue their services and to give back.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an amateur photographer with a new camera. Being a member at Chicago Photography Center enabled me to meet with an excellent trainer, so I am confident in using the camera. The prints I created have been used for a poster where I volunteer, which increased attendance at events. Plus the prints look gorgeous.

There are both tangible and intangible benefits to the CPC trainings. I have more confidence using my digital camera and the results help the causes I care about.

The Executive Director is super competent and her enthusiasm is contagious. The hard-working Board of Director, though small, is committed to expanding the impact of the Center. CPC is recognized as the best place to learn photography in Chicago, probably the Midwest.

Joan Flanagan

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization under very caring and competent management and staff.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Chicago Photography Center (CPC) has absolutely changed my life. I would not be where I am today as a photographer with out them.

The CPC is there to help you on your photographic journey whether you're a casual photographer or are interested in making a career of it. The instructors are all knowledgeable, working photographers who are always supportive and helpful. The CPC offers classes for every level of student and shares opportunities to display your work and to photograph outside of class through partnerships with other organizations and clients (some of whom pay).

The CPC is primarily a place of learning, and I have learned a ton, but I think the biggest impact it's had on my life has been a social one. It often takes me a while to get comfortable in new surroundings but the people at the CPC made me feel welcome right away - the environment is completely nurturing and friendly, not cut-throat or competitive, and that's been absolutely perfect for me. Through classes and events I've been able to network with other photographers and make some amazing friends. My fellow classmates and I work together on projects and recommend each other to clients when we're not available or otherwise can't take on a gig.

I really can't recommend this place enough. Try it out for yourself - you won't be sorry.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Chicago Photography Center is a wonderful venue contributing to keep photography as a viable art and a tool in journalism, such as photojournalism. The Center reaches and teaches the neighborhood.

Volunteer

Rating: 1

The volunteers care but the board?

Found better classes for the money and nicer people elsewhere.

Comments ( 1 )

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karen.egerer 04/07/2013

Since you have not been to the Chicago Photography Center for two years, we would like to invite you back; talk with the executive director; talk with some of the volunteers; and gain a new perspective on the range of exciting classes offered by professional and experienced instructors. Learn about CPC's Outreach Programs that include an After School Matters Program; and check out the Gallery exhibits. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Chicago Photography Center.

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Board seems too interested in drinking wine and spending $ on food. Better places to spend money and their time.

Comments ( 1 )

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karen.egerer 03/22/2012

The Chicago Photography Center regrets that these false statements continue to be made. The Chicago Photography Center welcomes everyone to visit the Center, experience our classes taught by professional and experienced photographers and educators. The CPC Gallery has exhibited the works of internationally acclaimed photographers and partnered with other organizations to bring international exhibits to Chicago. CPC is proud to sponsor its Outreach Program that works with community shelters and to house an After School Matters Program, part of the Chicago Public Schools program. We welcome you to see for yourself the kind of welcoming, professional, transparent and serving community that the Chicago Photography Center is. Oh, and do stop in for our monthly Wine & Critique! info@chicagophoto.org

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

What a mess. Spend your $ elsewhere. Do not think the people at the top care about the students or even teachers. Large turnover in staff? Wonder why?

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The Board of the cpc has defaulted on their obligation to the investors of the building they occupy. This group of people (the investors) came together for the sole prepose of providing a home for cpc. Because of their default, 27 people are about to louse their $350.000 investment. I believe in the past 5 years there is no person that started classes at cpc that have acquired the skills necessary to be able exhibit in a show. cpc says they are a school but they have not had a student show (of their own students) since I left as program director 6 years ago. Their gallery only exhibits the work established photographers. They use the gallery as a draw for their classes with the implication that after someone attends their classes they will learn enough to also be part of a show. Maybe, but because cpc does not have "student shows" it's not likely that they will be able to exhibit there. I started teaching photography in 1969 when I with others started the Jane Addams Center/ Hull House Photography Program (JAC/HH). cpc clams they are the same program that started at JAC/HH in 1969. They are not. The JAC/HH photography program only exhibited the work of their students.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was seeking community outreach that fed my love of art. Volunteering for the Chicago Photography Center was the perfect way to do this. As volunteers we meet with adults who live in supported housing or shelters. As a group, we venture through different city scenes while sharing photography lessons and discussions. It creates a new avenue of expression for the students and such an rewarding dialogue for everybody. It's been such a positive experience and I'll definitely continue my involvement.

Jodi6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I signed up for a photography class and in the process got a life changing experience. The instructors are mind blowing to say the least and push me the way I need to be pushed. Every instructor is 5 star and in the industry as Columbia College professors or professionals photographers of Chicago's biggest media publications. CPC is perfect for if you just want to learn how to take good photos, but it also has the capacity to push someone to greatness. The students they are producing are high caliber and gifted. They are exhibiting and starting sucessful businesses. I have to say my favorite things is the atmospere. Instead of having a competitive atmosphere it is one where everyone encourages each other and it is not elitist. Everyone helps everyone else grow and the amount of friendships fostered out of this places makes it an uplifting experience to simply be part of.

Client Served

Rating: 5

CPC has fostered my personal and technical growth as a photographer. I have learned invaluable lessons in the practice of photography from gifted and esteemed instructors. There is a strong sense of community among staff, volunteers, students, and visitors. I have friends in other cities and states who are envious of my access to CPC as a resource. It is so rare to find a place that offers such a comprehensive set of programs for photography. I especially appreciate their outreach to youth in Chicago. We need more positive opportunities for creativity for our young people. CPC is a prime example of the impact that is possible through mentoring. There are few such organizations, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to benefit from their many programs.

1 Kent B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Chicago Photography Center is a great organization that has helped inspire me to take my photography to levels I never thought I could achieve. The instructors are passionate and knowledgeable, and are true professionals working in many of the fields of photography (product, photojournalism, editorial, etc). I'm very happy that I found out about this place, and can't wait to see what they do next!

1 susanamia

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Chicago Photography Center teaches excellent classes in a wide variety of photographic subjects and has a gallery that shows both local and international artists, for the enrichment of its students and the public. Many students choose to take the entire curriculum in the certificate program and the expertise of the instructors assists them in their chosen areas of photography, providing confidence to compete in the marketplace.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As the founder and owner of a fine art photography gallery that attracted clients from around the globe, and a professional fine art photographer who has had solo exhibitions in France, Italy, India and the US, I have to say that CPC, although a young organization, is on the right track. Their classes are comprehensive, taught by professionals in the field, and the lectures and exhibitions are topnotch. I think that given time, with the wonderful energy that goes into every endeavor, will grow into a strong, vibrant center for the photographic community.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a certificate program student at the Chicago Photography Center, and through classes and events at the center, I have developed a much richer understanding of photography of all kinds, and made wonderful contacts and friends. The Chicago Photography Center is a profoundly generous community, and I'm happy to call it home.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The CPC has provided me with a friendly and inviting space with qualified and dedicated instructors who are genuinely interested in teaching and sharing their passion for photography. Inspiration and creativity are abound in an environment that is both professional and casual at the same time. With the support and expertise of peers and instructors, I find myself discovering, more and more, the artist voice within. Volunteering for the CPC has been a rich and fruitful experience, both in becoming a part of the mission and in the learning opportunity it has provided.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

A wonderful resource for teaching photography, and being able to interact with other passionate photographers, both professional and amateur. I have taken many classes on different aspects of photography, and have used their facilities for post production. I especially like that they have darkroom facilities for black and white film developing. I really enjoy the hands-on process of film developing, I just wish there were more film photographers joining me!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I signed up for a introductory camera class at the CPC in January of 2011 without ever owning a real camera. In less than two years, I have already been able to have my photos exhibited in shows both here and in London, England. All of that made possible by the hard work and commitment of the wonderful instructors and staff at The Chicago Photography Center. I know is sounds cliche to say that an experience is life changing, but my life has been enriched beyond belief, thanks to the CPC. Not only can I say that the CPC made me the photographer that I am today, but I can also say that it has helped me grow as an individual and has opened the door to opportunities I never knew existed.