Cleveland photographer Laura D’Alessandro lived in New Orleans for several years, and while there, she volunteered for PhotoNOLA, the city’s annual festival of photography, taking place over a weekend in December.
When she returned to town she had the idea that Cleveland should do something similar. Last year, she ran the idea by veteran Cleveland photographer and long-time catalyst for photo activity in Cleveland, Herb Ascherman. And by the beginning of 2019, joined by a third local photographer Jim Szudy, they had the seeds of the first annual Cleveland Photo Fest, which will take place in September and October at galleries and other venues all over town. That’s a key difference from the New Orleans festival, which takes place over a single weekend.
“Our mission is to strengthen the appreciation of photography as a major force in today’s visually driven culture. Exhibitions, publications, educational and fellowship programming are at the core of our active engagement with the Cleveland community,” says their mission statement.
While the group is currently enlisting more partners and firming up additional shows, among the venues participating are Lakewood’s Good Goat Gallery and Imagery Gallery of Photographic Arts, Foothill Galleries of the Photo Succession in Cleveland Heights, Live Publishing Company, Mac’s Backs in Coventry Village, Orange Art Center, and Prama Art Center and Gallery in Parma. They’ll also be doing a show at this year’s Ingenuity Festival in September.
There are currently several ways to get involved. Donations to the all-volunteer-run nonprofit are always welcome. The group is still seeking artists interested in booking a table at its “Sell and Show” show at Good Goat Gallery in October. Contact them through the website if interested.
Also, on the website, the Cleveland Photo Fest has a feature called Capture Cleveland. Anyone is invited to send them a Cleveland-themed image which, if chosen, will be featured on all their social media accounts.
You can submit an image or sign up for their mailing list for updates here.