Spotlight: Cleveland Photo Festival
Join us as we talk with the creators of The Cleveland Photo Festival!
How did your business get its start?
The Cleveland Photo Fest was established in 2019 as an annual event for the benefit of the Greater Clevelanders who support photography as a fine art. Our mission is to strengthen the appreciation of photography as a major force in today’s visually driven culture.
What is your mission?
Success. Bringing photography to the Greater Cleveland community in terms of exhibitions, lectures, programs and educational events.
What does keep it local mean to you and your business?
Of the 120 participating photographers in the Cleveland Photo Fest, over 100 photographers are from North Eastern Ohio. We are the epitome of Home Grown. Two months of summer, two months of winter, eight months of everything else. Seriously, the CPF Team are all Cleveland born. This is our town. We’re here to keep it great and growing.
What's the story behind how you began?
The genesis of the Cleveland Photo Fest came from CPF Director Laura D’Alessandro. Laura, a Clevelander then living in New Orleans, was an instrumental volunteer for PHOTO NOLA: The New Orleans Annual Festival of Photography in its formative years. Returning to the Greatest City in the Nation, she was poignantly aware that Cleveland did not have a single, unifying, photo event. Aware of the exigencies of a media – driven event, Laura enlisted the invaluable aid of media and digital savant CPF Co-Director Jim Szudy. After several preliminary conversations, Laura and Jim approached Herb Ascherman, former Board of Directors President of the Artist Archives of the Western Reserve, one of Cleveland’s three art museums. Together, this talented and synergistic team quickly laid out the necessary organizational steps toward launching the First Annual Cleveland Photo Fest.
How have you changed since your beginning?
When we launched the CPF in early 2019, we did so with a vague idea that a couple galleries would promote a couple shows. To date, we are sponsoring 19 exhibitions in 13 venues of our own, let alone promoting more than a dozen other photographic exhibitions and programs from Artspaces that have linked with us.
What do you like best about working in Cleveland?
In a word: The tremendous outpouring of public interest and SUPPORT from North East Ohio. We could have never imagined the public’s interest and participation in the Cleveland Photo Fest.
Anything else you'd like to share?
We are extremely appreciative of organizations like Keep It Local for their dedication to the Cleveland community, and for providing a platform for organizations like ours to flourish.