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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Chicago Photography Center NFP

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Volunteering Oportunities

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

7 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.

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

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.

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.


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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I took several classes at CPC and still coming back for more. Highly recommend!!


Client Served

Rating: 4

I have been a number of things to the Chicago Photography Center. I am an ongoing student and member of the Chicago Photography Center Community. I am a volunteer as well. Let me say that I was solicited by CPC to write a review in answer to some harsh criticisms of CPC that seem to have little to do with the programming but seem to be coming from disgruntled people who have an agenda and have not taken recent classes at CPC. I find some of the criticism amusing i.e. the board having food and wine at board meetings which occur around the dinner hour and can go on until 9 or 10 p.m. (I have made presentations at board meetings and have had to sit through them. I was very grateful that they offered a sandwich and individual board members did bring a bottle of wine to share but more often cokes, water and coffee were the proffered refreshment.)
I don’t know anything about the real estate issues but that seems to be a legal matter that should be worked out by two differing parties and what does that have to do with the quality of the classes??
Now for the quality of the classes – very high, I have taken classes at CPC since 2008. The instructors are highly skilled, the basic classes are well organized and at the appropriate level for the class. Written materials and handouts are clear and well organized.
I came to CPC after going through the Columbia College Photography program. I was looking for a place to use my photo skills and to keep them current. I started taking the advanced classes and can say I have had only positive experiences. The instructors are wonderful and well qualified. They are also willing to help outside of class if someone has a question or technical issue with a project. They have been wonderful and patient with me. I love, love, love the digital lab - computers loaded with Lightroom and Photoshop software and Epson large format printers. If you are a student you can use them for free. If you are a member you pay a small fee. There is also a working darkroom that can be rented or used for free if you are taking a film class. The equipment is kept in great working order and you can almost always get time on a printer etc.
I can only say great things about the gallery which has been constantly improved since I have been participating with CPC. When I first joined the organization the gallery presentations were a bit disorganized and the shows were not very high quality. Over the past two or three years CPC brought in a professional curator (who is now a board member) with very strong ties to the Chicago photography community and what a difference!! The student shows now are strong and have a very professional look and the gallery has showcased national and internationally ranked professional photographers and who not only show their work, but also teach workshops open to CPC students, members and the general public.
Photography is a skill and an art. Photographers need to have this communication and connection with other photographers working in the field. CPC has given Chicago photographers a great community to work within to get what they need – at all levels from amateur to professional photographer.
Finally let me say this. Thank you to the negative reviewers on this site. I really take CPC for granted as they have become a constant resource for me as a photographer trying to develop my fine art photography skills working in Chicago community. Writing this has really made me think about what I get from CPC. I am a member of CPC and I participate in shows and workshops, portfolio reviews and critiques with many different sources and programs to upgrade my photography skills. CPC is a great ongoing resource for me and all Chicago photographers. It is a community of photographers, a place to go and share your passion for photography, learn new skills and see and participate in gallery exhibitions.
I think if you have questions you should go on-line to www.chicagophoto.org and look at the resources offered. If you are interested in learning the basics of photography or you are interested in perfecting your skills CPC is the place to go. But do this look at all the photography schools, look at the curriculum, the classes offered, the facility and the instructors and the cost. Ask questions about the offerings and find out what works for you as an individual photographer. CPC is an inclusive community of photographers and they welcome all inquiries and feedback. I am very happy to be part of the community of photographers at CPC.


Client Served

Rating: 1

I took several photography classes both before and after their original director was fired. My "after" experience caused me to stop taking classes altogether for several years. The original community of volunteers was replaced by people who paid little attention to learning the basics and perfecting the process and more attention to ... well I don't know what, at the time they were more than a little disorganized.

Comments ( 1 )


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. info@chicagophoto.org