CENTER Santa Fe celebrates its 30th year with $20,000 in project grants, awards, and more

  • Published
    12 Feb 2024
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  • Topics Awards

Established in 1994 and located in New Mexico, Center Santa Fe supports socially and environmentally engaged lens-based projects through various avenues such as education, public platforms, funding, and partnerships.

Over the last 30 years, the organization has cultivated a community of dedicated photographers and lens-based artists demonstrating its ability to help them realize their full potential. To celebrate its anniversary, Center Santa Fe is currently open for applications until February 25th, offering $20,000 in project grants, portfolio reviews, and additional opportunities. The annual Calls For Entry cater to various phases of project development and distribution.

There are multiple categories open to support projects in various phases of development. The Project Launch Grant provides a $7,500 grant to those with complete projects or series, giving them the boost to share their artistic vision with the world. This year's judge is Jehan Jillani, Visuals Editor at The Atlantic, where she works on photography and illustrations for the publication's digital features and special projects. Last year Launch Grant juror Anne Kelly (Director, photo-eye Gallery) awarded Hidden Waters, Arid Land Springs in the American West by Bremner Benedict, a project focused on desert springs in the American West and Northern Mexico, calling attention to desert waters with the hope of conservation.

The Project Development Grant is tailored for those with works-in-progress (fine art, documentary, or photojournalistic), providing the financial support needed to refine and elevate their ongoing projects. The $5,000 grant package includes professional development and public presentation opportunities. Previously awarded projects have included Somewhere I Belong by Brandon Kapelow, Born From The Limb by Maximilian Thuemler, and Resident Aliens by Guanyu Xu. This year, the Donald and Marilyn Keough Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Gregory Harris, will select the awarded photographer.

In its commitment to inclusivity and the amplification of diverse voices, CENTER offers grants like the Me&Eve Award, designed specifically for female or LGBTQ+ photographers aged 40 and above. This initiative acknowledges the unique perspectives these artists bring to the field, awarding them with a $2,500 grant. The juror for this award is Eve Schillo, Associate Curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In the past edition, documentary photographer Mykle Parker was awarded Rage 4 Rights, aiming to provide models for ongoing public expressions of love and anger.

The Multimedia Award recognizes outstanding storytellers using lens-based media to create narrative-driven projects. The award is open to various mediums, including but not limited to photography, video, new media, photojournalism, installation, and web-based works. Projects that inspire social action, document crucial issues and amplify underrepresented voices are encouraged to apply. The selected works will be reviewed by juror David Barreda, Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic. Last year, Los Olvidados by Harvey Castro was selected. His work captures Guatemalans as they work to rebuild their lives following a natural disaster, delving into the community and showcasing how despite poor infrastructure and the impact of climate change, the people find ways to persevere.

CENTER extends its mission beyond financial support by fostering community connections through the Review Santa Fe Photo Symposium. This juried portfolio review conference is scheduled for November 1-3, 2024, in historic downtown Santa Fe. Photographers have the opportunity to connect with industry experts, receive constructive feedback, and establish meaningful connections. Reviewers are internationally recognized photography experts from different backgrounds and fields of expertise, such as museums, curators, directors, publishers, editors, and non-profit and commercial galleries. Arpad Kovacs (Assistant Curator, Department of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum), Anne Kelly (Director, photo-eye Gallery), Jennifer Schlesinger (Owner and Director, Obscura Gallery), Kelli Connell (Founding Editor, Skylark Editions), Shane Rocheleau (Editor, Gnomic Book), Gail Fletcher (Photo Editor, The Guardian), Renee Melides (Photo Editor, The New York Times), Lauryn Hill (Photo Editor, WIRED Magazine) and Joan Brookbank (Literary Agent, Joan Brookbank Projects) are only a few names among the reviewers who joined the symposium during the 2023 edition.

Moreover, the CENTER Awards acknowledge exceptional images, whether singular or part of a series, across three categories: Personal Award, Socially Engaged Award, and Environmental Award. As the North American organization continues to expand its database and archive of lens-based work spanning the last 30 years, they extend an invitation to contribute with works engaging in the exploration and expression of the power of self-representation and underrepresented experiences, address social issues, and focus on the state of the ecological environment. The jury is composed of Kristen Gresh (Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Noelle Flores Théard (Senior Digital Photo Editor at The New Yorker), and Sabine Meyer (Photography Director for the National Audubon Society).

In alignment with their dedication to education and the sustained growth of their community, CENTER also presents the Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award. This prestigious accolade recognizes the dedication and commitment of high school, college, or postgraduate educators to their students and the photographic field (including fine art, documentary, history, and criticism). Educators eligible for nomination must be recommended by their students or colleagues. In 2023, the winner was Alanna Styer, a documentary artist, educator, activist, Education Research Fellow, Photographer’s Green Book, and Director of Education at Venice Arts Los Angeles. She will have the honor of selecting the recipient of a $5,000 grant. Plus, CENTER sponsors documentary projects that aim to educate the public about critical environmental and social issues through the Blue Earth Fiscal Sponsorship. This initiative provides documentary photographers and filmmakers who work on such issues with fiscal sponsorship, enabling them to seek grants and donations, thereby further supporting their impactful projects. Last year's selected projects are El Corazón de Los Andes by Sofía Jaramillo, env-IRON-ment by Júlia Pontés, and Woman Rising by Matilde Simas.

In three decades, the organization has been a beacon of support for the photographic community, enriching the lives and careers of over 2,100 photographers through its diverse programs. At the heart of their legacy lies the Alumni Archives, a repository that encapsulates the essence of their photography community. Each year, a new independent juror selects photographers whose work embodies the spirit of innovation and artistic exploration, thus shaping the evolution of the field.

Explore all the opportunities and apply now.

© Luis Corzo
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© Luis Corzo

© Alison Chen
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© Alison Chen

© Tria Giovan
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© Tria Giovan

© Sofía Jaramillo
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© Sofía Jaramillo

© Dylan Hausthor and Peah Guilmoth
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© Dylan Hausthor and Peah Guilmoth