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FotoFest History


FotoFest was founded in 1983 by documentary photographers and journalists, Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss, and European gallery director, Petra Benteler. The first biennial, citywide Month of Photography was held in 1986 in Houston, Texas. 
In 1990, FotoFest created its year-round education program, Literacy Through Photography, in collaboration with photographer-educator, Wendy Ewald.
Also that year, FotoFest began a program of inter-Biennial traveling photography shows, international exchange programs, and publications. In 1999, FotoFest moved its office-gallery site to a restored downtown warehouse, Vine Street Studios, with permanent exhibition space. In 2014, FotoFest moved again, to its current location at Silver Street Station in Houston's Historic First Ward Creative District.
The FotoFest Biennial and art programs are known as platforms for ideas and discovery, combining museum-quality art with important social and aesthetic issues. The Biennial exhibitions curated by FotoFest give priority to the works of important but little-known photographic artists from the U.S. and around the world.
In addition to exhibitions, the FotoFest Biennial features a large portfolio review program for photographic artists, a film and video series, conferences, multi-media installations, a Fine Print Auction, and four-color exhibition catalogue.
FotoFest's Sponsors include private foundations; corporations; local, national and international government agencies; and individual contributors. Earned revenues come from Biennial programs, education fees, and fundraising events.

>> Highlights of FotoFest 1983-2005
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