Samantha Johnston, Executive Director & Curator

Samantha has been the Executive Director and Curator at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center since 2015. She holds a certificate in Arts Development and Program Management from the University of Denver, an MFA from Lesley University College of Art & Design, and a BFA from Alfred University. Prior to joining CPAC, she taught photography and visual arts for 12 years at high schools in Boston and Denver.


She has curated exhibitions with contemporary artists such as Jess T. Dugan, Daniel Coburn, Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman, and Zora Murff. Samantha has served as a reviewer at Houston FotoFest, Review Santa Fe, PhotoPlus New York, Medium, Month of Photography (MoP), and Filter. She has juried several exhibitions including Critical Mass and The Fence.


She is a longtime member of the Society for Photographic Education, and served as Treasurer of the Southwest region from 2013-2016 and Co-Chair of SPE’s 2013 Southwest regional conference in Denver. She was named one of Colorado’s Top 100 Creatives 3.0 by Westword and has been featured in Lenscratch.


Megan Ross, Director of Communications & Marketing

Megan is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world. Prior to joining CPAC in January 2015, she served as Director of Marketing for the Southern Environmental Law Center, where she led several successful marketing and PR initiatives across a six-state region. She has also held editorial and public relations positions at the National Wildlife Federation, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, and other organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. She holds a BA in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University and is a 2014 graduate of the Board Development Academy at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. She is a passionate amateur photographer and a contributing writer at Lenscratch.


Desanka (Desa) Beslic, Operations & Communications Manager

Desa has a background in art museum operations, fundraising, and marketing. Prior to joining CPAC in February 2020, she worked for three years in higher education advancement as a Development Coordinator at Occidental College (Los Angeles) and a Development Assistant at California Institute of the Arts. She also has a strong grasp of contemporary art from previously being a Content Creator and Sales Associate at the Denver Art Museum. She holds a BA in Art History and Classics from Lewis & Clark College (Oregon), where she took several darkroom photography classes that inspired her to pursue a career in the arts.


Meghan Shaw, Education & Programs Manager

Meghan has a wide and varied background in photography, including collections work with the Denver Art Museum and History Colorado Center. She has established and maintained a small business in Colorado spanning over 15 years; photographing other local businesses and products, as well as hundreds of people, weddings and events. She received a BFA in Photography from the University of Colorado Denver and an MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University in Toronto, during which time she was also a student resident at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester NY. She seeks to be involved in photography in all capacities, from an historical collections-management perspective and with community through learning and engagement of photographers in the many present-day forms of photographic imaging.

Photos by From the Hip Photo