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12th Ave’s growing Photo Center NW welcomes new director

The Center's black and white lab (Image: Brian Allen with permission)

The Center’s black and white lab (Image: Brian Allen with permission)

Photo Center NW has hosted photography galleries and lessons in Capitol Hill since 1996. This summer, the 12th Avenue center is preparing for a shift in leadership as it welcomes Michelle Dunn Marsh as its new executive director.

“I see Photo Center NW as an educational arts institution leading the conversation on the creation and dissemination of significant photography in this region,” Dunn Marsh tells CHS.

Dunn Marsh comes to the nonprofit in a time of growth. In 2007, people involved with the center say it struggled to remain open and considered shuttering some of its resources to cut costs as the economic slowdown set in. But its place in the photographic community and a shift in direction toward providing a community arts center on 12th Ave helped turn the situation around.

Today, with a newly renovated second floor and an expanding educational program, Photo Center NW welcomes about 2,000 annual visitors to its exhibits. It’s the kind of one-of-a-kind resource that we’re lucky to have so close to the Hill. Our neighborhood shutter bugs have access to unique training and increasingly hard-to-find facilities.


Dunn Marsh (Image: Sylvia Platchy with permission to CHS)

Dunn Marsh will arrive this summer with qualifications include spending 15 years with the Aperture Foundation, a New York City-based photography foundation, teaching at various schools, and working as the senior editor of art and design at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. This summer, before settling down at Photo Center NW, she will be teaching a photography class at Parsons School in New York. Previous director Annie Van Avery has moved on to serve as the director of Colage, a LGBTQ parenting network.

The new director brings a national perspective, having worked in San Francisco and New York City in the past, although she has local roots, hailing from Puyallup.

“As we continue to probe and champion this medium within this region, I know that new directions and initiatives will come to light,” said Dunn Marsh. “That’s part of what makes the pursuit of photography so fulfilling, for those who make work as well as those, like me, who love and live with what others have produced.”

Long Shot 2013
Later this month, PCNW will once again be at the center of Long Shot, the 24-hour photography marathon. You should grab a coffee and jump in:

LONG SHOT, the 24 hour photo marathon kicks off June 21!

This event is about spending a day with your camera (or part of a day), taking time to appreciate how photography connects us all, while supporting education resources at Photo Center NW.

There is no fee to participate, and each participant is guaranteed a photograph in the culminating exhibition and celebration on July 27, 2013.

The event is open to everyone, using any camera, anywhere.

You can sign up for the event here.

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[…] features “fine-arts programs.” CHS recently reported that Michelle Dunn Marsh will be taking over the shutter trigger at 12th Ave’s Photo Center […]