Free photography classes at the Tarble Arts Center

Kennedy Nolen, Contributing Reporter

Idaho native Eli Craven taught himself photography as a teen.

Now he and the Tarble Arts Center are teaming up to teach others with a free photo class for people 11 and older.

The class will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning Tuesday and going through Thursday Dec. 15 in the Tarble Arts Center.

Craven said the ‘90s culture of rock ‘n’ roll and photos he saw in magazines really got him interested in photography.

Craven received a bachelor’s degree from Boise State University in photography and a master’s degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the same major. He currently teaches photography classes at the U of I.

Kit Morice, curator of education at the Tarble Arts Center, said this is the first time in 20 years Tarble will have free classes like this based on photography. Morice said the usual class topics vary, and it all depends on the artist and their expertise and proficiency.

Morice said in recent years, Tarble hosted classes on watercolor, acrylic and textile dyeing, as well as some that focused on mixed media like collages. The artist the center chooses is able to create their own class.

Tarble was able to receive a grant from the Illinois Arts Council to offer these classes.

Craven said he has worked with Rehema Barber, the director and chief curator at the Tarble Arts Center, before at a gallery in Champaign. Barber was the one to tell Craven about the opportunity to teach classes.

Morice said classes like these benefit the community by allowing residents the opportunity to attend free classes, which could cost a lot of money elsewhere.

The class will work with negatives and learn the traditional process of photography, Craven said. The classes will also go over analog photography, and the students will get to construct and use their own pinhole camera.

“People who sign up for the class will get exposure to darkroom photography. For some people, it will be a different way of doing photography,” Morice said.

Craven said he encourages Eastern students to sign up, because the opportunity to try this type of photography is rare. University classes are especially pushing to move toward digital photography, he said, and it will be exciting to get back to the basics.

Craven said photography is his starting point, and a lot of his work is sculptural. He said he does woodworking, casting and manipulative play with materials.

For more information on Craven’s work, visit his site at

Morice said seats are limited. If students are interested, they need to contact Tarble before the Nov. 11 deadline, she said.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].