Recognized by Michelle Obama with a 2013 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award, CEPA’s nationally celebrated community arts programs create opportunities for children throughout Buffalo and Western New York to come together and learn in a unique and supportive arts education environment.
Under the instruction of our teaching artists, students of all ages engage in film photography, digital photography, pinhole cameras, darkroom printing, digital graphic design, animation, creative writing and bookmaking. CEPA also works with girl and boy scout troops, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Community Action Organization, and numerous other community-based groups.
Jose Lagares, 18, center, gets a hug from first lady Michelle Obama, left, as Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Arts, Inc., Education Director Lauren Tent of Buffalo, N.Y., watches at right, at the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, where Lagares and Tent were presented with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Meet CEPA’s Teaching Artists
“CEPA Gallery was part of my transformation as a teen. I was introduced to photography and graphic design when I was 15 through a community center program. During this time I was dealing with low self-esteem. I felt worthless and my heart yearned for a purpose in life. When I participated in a CEPA after-school program I learned how to develop photos in the darkroom and fell in love with the art form.”
“Being involved in this program gave me confidence, courage to be creative, and introduced me to my career field. Today I am a photography business owner, a CEPA Gallery teaching artist, and I’m pursuing a Master’s in Educational Technology at Buffalo State College. I appreciate CEPA Gallery and its staff for being consistent, encouraging, and committed to my success!”
Mapping Community was created to expose Buffalo’s youth to its rich history and culture through photography, site visits and interaction with community leaders and historians.
CEPA’s mentoring program Photography Works is designed especially for students who have a serious interest in photography and are seeking an in-depth learning experience.
Reclaiming Buffalo: A Writing with Light Program combines photography, computer literacy, and creative writing to inspire students from neighborhoods all over Buffalo to envision and affect positive change for themselves and their communities.
Photography is an art form that is accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities. CEPA is honored to partner with some of the best organizations in Buffalo to bring our community arts programs to people with special needs—whether developmental, social, or otherwise.CEPA’s Special Needs Art Programs
The Art of Photography empowers students from Autism Services, Inc. to tap into their natural artistic abilities.
Architecture Exposed helps adults with disability explore the art of photography by connecting with Buffalo’s rich architectural heritage.
To bring one of CEPA’s community arts programs to your community, or to design an ongoing program, contact our Education Director Lauren Tent:
Together, we can put together a customized community arts program that suits the needs of your youth, your community, and your budget.