History and Mission

Mission: CPAC is dedicated to fostering the understanding and appreciation of photography in all forms and concepts through exhibitions, education and community outreach.

  • CPAC benefits the Mountain West region’s photographic community by nurturing new talent, expanding concepts, generating skills, piquing interest, and contributing to a sustainable market for collectors and artists.
  • CPAC is a place where photographic artists, hobbyists, collectors, and the public can come together to exchange ideas; grow their interests, careers, and professional practice; and engage with photographic exhibitions, both historic and contemporary, fine art, and experimental.
  • CPAC values and seeks improved diversity throughout the organization and audience. In doing so, CPAC intends to broaden the scope of the work shown and the education CPAC delivers, the people they serve, and the technique, context, and content of everything with which CPAC is engaged.
  • CPAC advocates for the photographic arts through exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach to people of all skill levels, ages, and interests.

CPAC’s core values include:

  • Actively serving artists through financial or in-kind support, and providing opportunities for artists to communicate with their audience through exhibitions, workshops and events.
  • Respecting and appreciating diversity in all its forms, including ethnicity, age groups, gender, artistic levels and media.
  • Providing a place where photographers can pursue their vision and build community.
  • Nurturing partnerships with other arts and community organizations.
  • Working within and across the organization, and with our communities, to accomplish common goals.

CPAC is supported by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and by funding from the Colorado Creative Industries Division, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

CPAC Gallery at 1513 Boulder Street

History: Today’s CPAC is the result of a merger between the “old” CPAC, founded in 1963, and Working With Artists, founded in 2001. This union of Denver’s two most established non-profit photographic organizations was completed August 26, 2011, and leverages the strengths and vision of the two groups to create a vibrant space for photographic exhibitions and educational programs.

History of the two original organizations: The Colorado Photographic Arts Center was founded in Denver in 1963 by Eugene Lang (Founder/Chair/First President), Jim Milmoe (Vice President), Glen Thrush (Secretary) and 12 others including Hal Gould, who would go on to become one of the region’s most influential figures in photography. CPAC’s initial gallery space at 1503 E. Colfax Ave was the first venue in the region dedicated to fostering the art of photography. From 1968-1972 it operated as a center-without-walls, something that was to recur several times on the organization’s history. Early Presidents include Dick Nosbisch (1978-1982), Glenn Cuerdon (Nov. 82-Oct. 86), and R. Skip Kohloff (Nov. 86 to April 2006). In 1998, Skip’s partner, Lisbeth Neergaard Kohloff, became Gallery Coordinator. Under their joint direction CPAC opened a gallery in Denver’s NW district, sharing space with the Carol Keller Gallery at Boulder & 15th St. from 1998 until the end of 2005. There, the Center organized numerous exhibits and lectures, seminars, and artists’ talks by notable photographers including Richard Misrach, Emmett Gowin, Patrick Nagatani, and Betty Hahn. Following Skip and Lisbeth’s retirement from CPAC in 2005, the organization continued as a center-without-walls until August 2011, when it merged with Working With Artists.

Like CPAC, WWA exhibited the work of hundreds of artists during its history; it is distinguished, however, by its extensive program of classes, workshops, and outreach programs. As a committed founder and volunteer director, Marsea Wynne was the driving force of WWA and eventually drew her first Director’s salary in 2005-06. In 2006 she resigned for personal reasons and to pursue other projects. At her request, Greg Cradick was named Director and Valerie Photogoddess Assistant Director (As of August 2013, Valerie continues to serve on the CPAC board of directors; Greg is an occasional teacher on the CPAC faculty). In addition to her WWA activities, Marsea also served on the board of CPAC for three years.

In November 2011, Rupert Jenkins (President 2009-2011) stepped down as Chair to assume the position of Executive Director. As of August 2014, CPAC’s activities are led by Rupert Jenkins (Executive Director) aided by Becca Holt (Administrative Assistant), Mariana Vieira (Education Coordinator), Paul Sisson (Installation and Exhibitions Coordinator), and a dedicated crew of interns and volunteers.

CPAC’s funding is provided by income from classes and workshops, annual membership dues, donations, and grants. CPAC is supported by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District and by funding from the Colorado Creative Industries Division, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Sponsors include the Mathew Brown Family Fund, Denver Foundation, Ralph Nagel, Sue Cannon, and the David and Laura Merage Foundation. Limited edition prints are available to members joining at the $250 Collector level and above.

For a complete profile visit the Giving First web site here

CPAC_Board of Directors August 2012

Back Row, L-R: Micah Messenheimer, Kevin O’Connell, Evan Anderman (former Chair), Brad Knepper;  Middle Row, L-R: Sherea Spalding (Operations Manager), Andy Lillie, Lydia Vanderberg, Carmen Wiedenhoeft, Rupert Jenkins (Executive Director); Front Row, L-R: Valerie Santerli, Carol Keller, Edie Winograde (current Chair), Erin McCarley (consultant). Photo: Evan Anderman. Not shown: Monique Crine.

CPAC Board of Directors, April 2011

L-R: Micah Messenheimer, Lincoln Phillips, Natalie Beck, Rupert Jenkins (Chair), Kate Donaldson, Christopher Perez, Monique Crine, Brad Knepper, John Davenport, Katy Taft (consultant), Edie Winograde.