Meet the 2024 Hal Gould Award Winner


The Colorado Photographic Arts Center (CPAC) is pleased to present its 2024 Hal Gould Vision in Photography Award to Carol Keller, a former gallery director, curator, and CPAC Board member with 40+ years of elevating outstanding photography and photographic artists in Colorado and the Mountain West region.

The award will be accepted by Keller at CPAC’s Print Auction & Hal Gould Award Celebration on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 6:30 pm.

Meet the Award Winner (5)

Now retired, Carol Keller is the former Director of Emmanuel Gallery at Auraria Higher Education Center, former owner of multiple galleries in Denver including Carol Keller Art, River Gallery, and River Artworks, and a former CPAC Board member.

Keller began her career as an artist with a focus on ceramics and painting. She and her family moved to Denver from San Francisco in 1972 where she continued her education, receiving her BFA from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Master of Humanities in Fine Arts and Communication from the University of Colorado.

As Gallery Director at Emmanuel from 1981 – 1998, she curated and coordinated exhibitions for the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State College at Denver, and Community College of Denver. She was responsible for procuring works for Auraria’s permanent collection and insisted on purchasing photography. She acquired works by 16 American photographers including Bernice Abbott, Sandy Skoglund, Imogen Cunningham, and Robert Adams.

While at Emmanuel, Carol met Lisbeth Neergard Kohloff, an educator and historian teaching at the University. Lis and her husband Skip were leaders in Colorado’s photography community and served on CPAC’s Board of Directors for over two decades. The Kohloffs assembled numerous influential exhibitions, including solo shows by internationally known photographers Jerry Uelsmann, Patrick Nagatani, and Betty Hahn.

In 1996, Carol juried CPAC’s Annual Membership Show, and in 1997, she partnered with the Kohloffs to present Visions: Contemporary Colorado Photography, juried by Patrick Nagatani. This important exhibition featured 52 photographs by 40 Colorado photographers including Kevin O’Connell, Mark Sink, Sarah Marquis Timberlake, Bob Coller, and John Bonath.

In the late 1990s, CPAC was struggling financially and did not have a physical space. The organization was at risk of folding when Carol stepped in. In 1998, she purchased a building on 1513 Boulder St. that became CPAC’s new home — and consequently saved the organization.

CPAC shared its Boulder Street space with Carol Keller Art, Keller’s own gallery specializing in photo-based and 3D works. In September 1998, they teamed up to present their inaugural exhibition, Multiple Layers: Covered & Uncovered – Photographic Fabrications with Patrick Nagatani in attendance. Over the next seven years, Boulder Street was a key exhibition space for local, national, and international photographic artists.

By 2005, the Boulder Street building was in desperate need of renovations, and CPAC entered another phase of transition. In 2006, Skip retired after 19 years leading CPAC, and he and Lis left the Board having served 27 and 24 years, respectively. CPAC became a center-without-walls for six years. In 2011, CPAC merged with another Denver organization, Working with Artists, and moved to Lakewood for two years. In 2013, Carol once again welcomed CPAC back to their former location on Boulder Street. She served on CPAC’s Board from 2011 – 2014 and again from 2016 – 2019.

Fast-forward to today, and CPAC is now the largest photo center in the region, designed specifically to meet the needs of its 600+ members, students, and more than 5,000 visitors each year. Most importantly, CPAC’s new space on Lincoln Street comes with 20 years of stability.

“Had it not been for Carol’s generosity and vision, CPAC might not exist today,” said Samantha Johnston, CPAC’s Executive Director & Curator. “We are honored to present her with CPAC’s 9th Hal Gould Vision in Photography Award for her faith in CPAC’s mission and her commitment to elevating photographic art in Denver and beyond.”