Callanan Teaching Award

Callanan Teaching Award

Image detail from the series The Plantation Boy © Uche Okpa-Iroha, 2022 Teaching Award Recipient

2023 Nominations Open

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism” — Colleen Wilcox

Established in 1998, the annual Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award honors a high school, college, or postgraduate teacher’s dedication and commitment to their students and field. Educators in all areas of photographic teaching are eligible – including fine art, documentary, history, and criticism. In honor of their exemplary teaching skills and techniques the Teaching Award recipient receives $5,000 in financial support, Review Santa Fe Tuition, access to Professional Development Workshops, Inclusion in the CENTER Image & Library, and a CENTER Supporting Level Membership.

– Educators must be nominated by their student(s) or colleague(s) to be considered.

Please fill out this Teaching Award Nomination Form prior to the March 15, 2023, deadline to officially submit your nomination.

// A genuine passion for teaching
// An ability to excite students to learn
// A respect for students as individuals
// An enduring artistic curiosity


Uche Okpa-Iroha • Visual Artist, Art & Culture Producer, Art Educator, Independent Curator, Mentor, & Founder/Director, The Nlele Institute Lagos | Nigeria

“…one nominee did stand out in a variety of ways, and he is the remarkable Nigerian photographer, teacher, and arts organizer, Uche Okpa-Iroha, the Founder and Director of the Nlele Institute, and Centre for African Art in Lagos. His students and supporters are legion, and he is a beloved figure not only at the Institute but within Nigerian and African photography at large. He founded Nlele in order to make the study of photography affordable to all, and he has taught there since its founding. His own work has been shown internationally and he has arranged multiple collaborations with other photographers to address African cultural and social issues… Many congratulations to you, Uche Okpa-Iroha.” – Peter Brown, 2021 Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

“He is a selfless photography instructor helping marginalized youth have access to free photography training and workshop and opportunities in Nigeria.”

“We call him mentor because he’s a great teacher, and one who follows the development of his mentees from day one to infinity. Much of our development in visual art in Nigeria is attributed to him… He is the practicing artist who teaches his students life!”

“Dedicated to furthering art in Nigeria”, is a phrase I’d use to describe Mr. Uche… Being highly passionate about Art and its various mediums, Mr. Uche, constantly strives to expand the minds of those around him, so they can see the infinite possibilities of art.”

“He has over the years mentored many generations of artists through the Nlele Institute and helped them to build their careers using the institute as a stepping stone.”


2021 – Peter Brown
Photographer & Instructor at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Rice University in Houston, TX
2020 – Frank Lopez
Photographer & Teacher, Greenhill School, Addison, TX
2019 – Tony Chirinos
Artist, Photographer, & Associate Senior Professor of Photography at Miami Dade College
2017 – Cig Harvey
Maine Media College, Anderson Ranch, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops
2015 – Joe Johnson
Head of Photography Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO., Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University, MassArt, Rhode Island College, the DeCordova Museum, and the Beach Museum
2014 – Aline Smithson
CENTER Workshop Instructor, Fine Art Department Instructor, Los Angeles Center of Photography, Los Angeles, CA
2013 – Jessamyn Lovell
Art Department Senior Lecturer, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
2012 – Stephan Hillenbrand
Associate Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
2011 – Kerry Skarbakka
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
2010 – Sean Kernan
Savannah Collece of Art and Design, Maine Photo Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and the Art Center, Pasadena
2009 – Archy Baker LaSalle
Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, MA
2008 – Patrick Hebert
Instructor, Art Center College of Design, CA & Associate Director of Education, AIDS Project Los Angeles
2007 – Joan Dooley
Bell School of Humanitas Academy, Los Angeles, CA
2006 – John Weiss
Professor of Art, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
2005 – Rose Marasco
Professor of Art, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
2004 – Lauren Shaw
Associate Professor, Emerson College, Boston, MA
2003 – Susan Kae Grant
Professor of Photography, Texas Women’s University, Denton, TX
2002 – Don Gregorio Anton
Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
2001 – Joleen Mahoney Roe
Bethlehem Central high School, Delmar, NY
2000 – Catherine Angel
Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
1998 – Eddie Soloway
Instructor at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, National Geographic Presenter, Santa Fe, NM


Thanks to a generous donor in 2020, the Excellence in Teaching Award has been renamed to the Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award, after our Founder Reid Callanan, and will be supporting dedicated educators annually.

Thank you for the future support of the Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award.

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