Photographic Center Northwest
Our Mission and Vision
Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW) TEACHES PEOPLE HOW TO SEE.
Through our 53-credit Certificate in Fine Art Photography, classes and workshops; free exhibitions and companion public programs; and publicly accessible facilities we teach the history and future of the photographic medium.
The Organization was founded in the early 1980s and was originally named the Exposure School of Photography, then later called the Northwest Center for Photography.
A.K. Shethar purchased the organization in 1988, renamed it Photographic Center Northwest, and served as President of the organization from 1988 until 1999. During this period, Ms. Shethar and board leaders at that time oversaw the transformation of the organization into the non-profit it is today. The Center became an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 1996. In 1997, the Center relocated from its downtown and Greenlake locations into a 1920’s ambulance building located in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle which has been renovated to meet the needs of contemporary photographers.
Over the past 30 years, Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW) has evolved from a small photography school into a vibrant educational institution.
We will continue to be a beacon for the photographic arts in the Pacific Northwest, drawing students and artists from across the region to participate in classes, workshops and exhibitions. Our strategic goals in the coming years are to build our visibility and involvement in the local arts community while broadening our programs to reach the global photographic community. As we continue to cultivate regional partnerships and community connections, we serve our neighbors in Seattle by providing access to regional, national, and international perspectives through photography. You can play a part in this future. PCNW actively seeks photographers, curators, educators, and partner organizations to help shape our future while providing access to education in the photographic arts.
|Terry Novak joined Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW) in 2012, and has occupied numerous roles, culminating in her recent appointment as Executive Director. She has focused her professional efforts on fundraising and leveraging resources to foster sustainability for PCNW and the photographic arts in the Pacific Northwest.
Novak has been a reviewer at PhotoAlliance in San Francisco and PhotoPlus in New York and co-juried the 2019 Pacific Northwest Viewing Drawers at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR. She is co-chair of the Capitol Hill Arts District, leading advocacy and policy around creation and preservation of affordable spaces and resources for artists and arts organizations; she is also a member of the Fundraising for the Arts Task Force and served as a grant panelist for The Washington State Arts Commission. Novak received her BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago and has an affinity for color analog and alternative processes. She holds an MFA in Arts Administration from Seattle University.
Michelle Dunn Marsh
|Michelle Dunn Marsh has served in executive and creative roles for the last 25 years. As Executive Director at PCNW from 2013–2019, she also curated significant exhibitions including Terminal: On Mortality and Beauty, and Eugene Richards: ‘Enduring Freedom’, among others. She co-founded Minor Matters, a community publishing platform for contemporary art, and has published 14 books to date. Dunn Marsh spent fifteen years with Aperture Foundation in New York City, was senior editor of art+design at Chronicle Books in San Francisco; and was a tenured professor in graphic design at Seattle Central Community College among other professional endeavors. She has lectured nationally about visual literacy, publishing, and the history of photography. She holds a BFA from Bard College, where she serves on the Board of Governors, and an MS in Publishing from Pace University.|
|Jennifer Brendicke, born and raised in the greater Seattle area, is a graduate of PCNW’s certificate program, and has served in various roles at PCNW for over a decade including as an administrative associate, education and outreach coordinator, Associate Director and Registrar.|
|Eirik contributes to our vision as explored through our certificate program, continuing education, and public programs. Eirik is an accomplished artist and has exhibited his work nationally at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Aperture Foundation in New York among others. He has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Neddy at Cornish Award in Open Medium. His work is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; two monographs of his work have been published and he is represented locally by the G. Gibson Gallery.|
Public Programs Coordinator
|Originally from San Diego, Erin Spencer moved to Seattle in 1994, and soon after began a career in fine art photography administration. She was the gallery director at Benham Gallery for eight years, and joined the staff at PCNW in 2008 where she has served in various roles. In her current position of Public Programs Coordinator, Spencer oversees the logistics management of all PCNW’s exhibitions, from condition reports through framing, layout, installation, and return of artwork. She works closely with the executive director and manages logistics on a variety of public programs
Spencer has exhibited her own photography all over the United States and in the Czech Republic. In her spare time, she is busy either vintage treasure hunting, or out on the coast, transforming her late 1800s church into a funky second home.
Outreach & Development Associate
|Ashley, a Midwest transplant, has called Seattle home since 2012. Upon arrival to the Pacific Northwest, she joined Youth in Focus as their Program Director and quickly became involved with the arts and nonprofit community. Now at Photographic Center Northwest, Ashley is supporting the Institution with their outreach and development efforts, building intentional partnerships with a shared sense of purpose. Outside of the office, Ashley enjoys gardening, exploring new places and cuisines with her husband and taking their rescue pitbull-mix on adventures. She holds an MFA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago.|
Lilly received a BFA in Photography from the University of Washington in 2002. In 2004, she became one of the founding members of the Rat City Rollergirls and helped define their brand and marketing strategies. After a 10 year career in e-commerce photography with Nordstrom, Lilly joined the team at Glazer’s Camera during their transition into their new store to help them with rebranding and marketing efforts. In 2017, she completed a Digital Marketing Course at General Assembly. In her spare time, Lilly likes to sew, knit and garden.
Born in Spokane, Wa and raised in the rural farmland outside of the city. Dustin moved to Seattle in 2009 and studied photography at Shoreline Community College and is currently taking classes at PCNW. Outside of photography, he likes to build things, being in nature and music related activities such as listening, playing, viewing and collecting.
Digital Lab Lead
||Sandy King was born in Oakland, California and was raised primarily on the small neighboring island of Alameda. She earned her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she focused on film photography and digital inkjet printing. In Chicago, she worked at Latitude digital lab for four years before moving to New York to become a professional studio photographer. Sandy moved to Seattle in 2016 and started at the Photographic Center Northwest as a volunteer in their digital labs. She now leads their digital media labs and focuses on continuing the relationship between the digital and analogue realms of photographic output.|
||Bo was born and raised in the Issaquah/Sammamish area. As one of 10 brothers, he learned quickly how to get along with others. Bo moved rapidly through his schooling as a S.T.A.R. student and continues to participate in school activities. Bo enjoys landscaping, hiking, and is active in his community. He also looks forward to any photoshoot opportunities. Oh, and the other guy…he does stuff with numbers. And likes to play ball throughout the Puget Sound region.|
||Mia is a Seattle native who received her BA in Interdisciplinary arts from Seattle University. When she is not working at PCNW, Mia is a freelance photographer and video maker.|
||Paulo Gonzales is a California desert born, Seattle based photographer. He holds a BFA in Photography from Seattle University. His work has been exhibited at the Vachon Gallery as well as the Photographic Center Northwest gallery in Seattle Washington. Paulo’s works mostly exists as self published books and zines and he exhibits them at festivals like Short Run and other outlets.|
We are grateful to the dozens of volunteers and interns that support our programs throughout the year. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Check our volunteer roles and opportunities.
Board of Trustees
William Holderman, Board Chair
Joined January 2014
William Holderman is Gastroenterologist and Senior Partner with Digestive Health Specialists based in Tacoma, Washington. His interest in photography began in high school where he served as staff photographer and editor of his high school yearbook. He deeply appreciates the art and craft of photography having spent many hours in his home darkroom developing and printing images from his Nikon F. He and his wife, Lisa collect 20th Century vintage and contemporary photography, photographic monographs, and ephemera. He is dedicated to the art and artists of the Northwest having served on the Board of Trustees of the Tacoma Art Museum and co-chair of its collection committee. They live in Seattle with their two teenage daughters.
Erika J. Nesholm, Vice Chair
Joined April 2018
Erika Nesholm is the Executive Director of the Nesholm Family Foundation, which awards grants in Health and Human Services, Education, and Performing Arts in Seattle. Prior to that, she was a Classics Professor at Williams College, Georgetown University, The College of William and Mary, Kenyon College, and Ohio Wesleyan University. She holds a PhD in Classics from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Education Policy from UW, with particular interest in arts education. Erika is active in the arts community: she serves on the board of ACT Theatre, Arts Corps, and the Community Advisory Board of Classical KING FM.
Gary Owen, Treasurer
Joined January 2019
Gary Owen brings considerable experience in Business Management and Finance to the Board of Directors role. Studies included degrees from the University of Puget Sound (History and Economics) and from California Miramar (MBA Finance) in addition to work at UCLA and UC San Diego. Work experience includes Director at Dendreon Corp. , Providence Health and Services, and Ernst & Young LLP. Arts related activities include Collections Committee member at Tacoma Art Museum, Member of Seattle Art Museum, Active collector of Northwest Photography, and collector of painting, prints and sculpture.
Joined June 2019
A partner at Kinzer, Marcelo provides real estate services to institutional, corporate, public and not-for-profit clients; specializing in leasing, acquisitions/dispositions, and comparative analysis of strategic options. He is passionate about supporting nonprofits in their space needs, and appreciates photography.
Joined January 2016
Bill Hensler is Chief-Product Owner and Co-Founder of Pixvana, a software start-up building virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) delivery platforms for media and entertainment applications. Apple enjoyed Bill’s tenure as Senior Director of Engineering from 2010-2014, where his engineering, design and research direction for photo applications and image frameworks for the Photos group contributed to the selfie’s worldwide ascent to media domination. Before Apple, Bill spent ten years at Adobe Systems in VPE, GM and Chief Technologist roles. As the chief technologist for the Creative Business unit he continued leading the engineering, design and research direction for the Digital Video and Digital Publishing businesses. As an engineering leader Bill is a creative force in mixing computer science and art by building engineering and design teams that bring fledgling digital mediums into the mainstay of digital artists’ repertoire.
Frits Habermann, Board Member
Joined January 2017
Product, technology, and UX executive, and currently CPO & CTO, PicMonkey.
Product, technology, and UX executive experienced in creating competitive business, product and technical roadmaps, and highly functional software organizations to support them. Sought-after leader for positioning tech companies at natural inflection points into high-growth businesses. Experienced in creating deep, usable products and building highly collaborative teams. Expertise areas include user interfaces, games, graphics, music, education and photography.
Tina Orr-Cahall, Board Member
Joined April 2019
Dr. Christina Orr-Cahall (Tina) brings extensive curatorial and arts leadership experience to her philanthropic work. She served as director of EMP from 2009–2013, and director of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida from 1990–2009. There she led the Norton through a $40-million expansion, with 77,500 square feet and 19 galleries, more than double the size of the original museum; carried out two successful capital campaigns; and grew the endowment. An art historian who received her Ph.D. from Yale University, other positions she has occupied include curator at the Norton; Chief Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum (1981-87); and CEO and President of the Corcoran Gallery and College of Art in Washington, DC (1988-90). She currently serves on the board of the Tacoma Art Museum, and has been on the board of Pilchuck, was a federal appointment to the board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (ILMS), and on the design review board for the city of Seattle, among other civic engagements.
Adam L. Weintraub, Board Member
Joined December 2013
Adam L. Weintraub is a professional photographer and serial entrepreneur who proudly hails from Seattle. For more than 10 years, his PhotoExperience.net workshops and photo tours have been offering insight and creative collaboration in an intimate setting throughout South America. He has coordinated efforts to create a permanent archive of the famed Peruvian indigenous photographer, Martin Chambi. Adam is a past three-term President and 8 term Director of Blue Earth Alliance; he is widely published, collected, hired and admired for his personal work. His book, Vista Andina, offers a contemporary photographic perspective on the Andean region of Peru. Adam’s current pet-project is the Museo del Pisco in Cusco, bringing this magical elixir to the masses.