Community Arts Programs


CEPA Gallery - Michelle Obama presents the PCAH National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

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)


Featured CEPA Teaching Artist: Aitina Fareed Cooke

“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!”

Meet CEPA’s Teaching Artists

CEPA Gallery Arts Education - After School Programs

CEPA’s After School Programs

CEPA’s after school community arts programs give participating students the opportunity to learn about photography through hands-on experience with our exceptionally talented, professional teaching artists.

CEPA’s After School Programs

Mapping Community

CEPA Gallery Community Arts Program - Mapping Community

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.

Mapping Community »

Photography Works

CEPA Gallery Community Arts Programs - Photography Works Mentoring Program

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.

Photography Works »

Reclaiming Buffalo

CEPA Gallery Community Arts Programs - Writing With Light: Reclaiming Buffalo

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.

Reclaiming Buffalo »

Young Perspectives

CEPA Gallery Community Arts Program - Young Perspectives

CEPA’s introductory photography program Young Perspectives offers kids a glimpse into learning how to express themselves in a new way, and that what they have to say is important—whether it’s said using words or images.

Young Perspectives »

CEPA Gallery Arts Education - Special Needs Art Programs

CEPA’s Special Needs Art Programs

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

Bring CEPA to Your Community

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.

CEPA Gallery Community Arts Programs

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