LACP: Continued Excellent Programming in a New Space
Written by Genie Davis
LACP, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, is a vital part of photographic artists’ lives in this city. Created to build a community of photographers and strengthen the importance of photographic art, the organization offers classes, scholarships, grants, exhibitions, public programs, and more, including programming focused on youth and low-income families.
The center is now poised to move into a new building, offering more space, more classes, and more experiences.
Executive director Julia Dean says she was a college teacher for 16 years, and began teaching photography out of the lofts where she lived.
“Once I had a little ‘following’ I decided to start an official school, thanks to one of my students, who gave me a business loan. We called it JDPW back then, simply because I was the only teacher.” She initially founded The Julia Dean Photo Workshops in 1999.
“We now have 100 photographers who teach for us each year,” she relates.
According to Dean, no day is ever the same at LACP, but it is always abuzz with activity. “We offer 150 classes a year, monthly exhibitions, competitions, guest speaker events, portfolio reviews, book signings, movie nights, and STREET WEEK,” she says, along with a myriad of other activities and events.
And now there’s more room for LACP to expand their offerings, as they prepare to move into a 6900-square-foot space specifically designed for the organization.
“We are about to become the ‘Center of Photography’ that we have been working toward, where people can come and go all day long to meet for coffee and a portfolio review, or to use one of our many services, be it the studio, digital darkroom, or traditional darkroom,” Dean asserts.
Dean describes the LACP’s environment as “full of people who share the same passion: photography. I always tell people that if they come around LACP for a month, they’ll have 100 new photography friends. We have a lot to offer in services and classes,” she explains, “We went non-profit six years ago, hence the name change to the Los Angeles Center of Photography, so that we could offer programs to under-served kids across L.A. County. Thanks to a grant that we received last year, we are teaching photography to 100 kids in ten different Boys & Girls Clubs. Though the grant was substantial, we still need to raise more money to keep the program going in all ten clubs,” she says.
The Center has many new plans in the works. “One of them is to offer artist residencies, another is a six-week program for foreign students. We also want to expand our one-year professional program.”
Dean notes that the new facility will have plenty to offer, including a 2,000-square-foot studio, a gallery, library, traditional darkroom, and a digital lab.
“We will have everything that we’ve always had, but with the new space, our digital lab will be twice as big. We will have a traditional darkroom, which we haven’t had in more than five years, and we’ll have a glass-encased photography library for people to check out books, or come sit, relax and read.”
The new space on Washington Blvd., which Dean calls “beautiful” will double the size of the organization’s current Hollywood location.
Dean adds “This is all possible because of a very successful fundraiser in April, an involved board of directors, a dedicated staff, generous donors, and a lot of friends.”
The big move will take place in the month of November; the public Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14th from 6-9 p.m. The opening “should be a big deal,” Dean enthuses. “We’ve invited big name gallery owners to show work, plus we’ll be raising money for our Boys & Girls Club program and showing off student work too.”
Along with the center itself, Dean sees the photographic arts evolving, in a very positive direction. “When I moved to L.A. 25 years ago, there really was no photo community or scene. Now there is. LACP can take a lot of credit for that, but so can many others now, such as the Annenberg Space for Photography, photography galleries such as Fahey/Klein, Peter Fetterman, Rose Gallery, Paul Kopeikin, and other groups working to support each other.”
In short, it’s a picture-perfect moment in the Los Angeles photographic art scene.
The new space is located at 5566 West Washington Blvd Los Angeles CA