Excel Photography Program

Excel Photography Program engages Detroit middle-school students in an after-school, project-based photography and leadership development curriculum coupled with exciting field trips throughout southeastern Michigan.

This semester long program provides instruction in the technical and aesthetic aspects of 35mm digital photography. Photographic assignments are outcome-based in that students plan and execute their ideas, and evaluate their finished projects through student-led critiques.


  • Detroit resident
  • Current 6-8th grade student
  • Student must have reliable transportation to and from Focus: HOPE


Students meet Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with occassional weekend field trips
Two sessions are offered each year:
Fall (October - December) and Winter (January - May)

The Excel program culminates with a reception and a photography exhibition featuring students’ works coupled with their artist statements. 

 Click here to view the Focus: HOPE Excel Photography Exhibition 2012 video


Call Annette Vanover at 313.494.4376 or email vanovea@focushope.edu
Click here for Excel Photography Program Application


If you are interested in supporting our program, check out our wish list!




Excels’s format is designed to provide participants with individualized instruction via mentor-led teams. This model accommodates each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and fosters positive relationships between young people and caring adults.

Special Friday evening and Saturday field trips introduce students to local cultural institutions, regional events, and new neighborhoods outside of their daily lives. Students experience exciting photo shoots at locations such as: Historic Eastern Market, Cranbrook Educational Campus, Detroit Institute of Arts, Historic Trinity Church, Belle Isle, downtown Royal Oak, Mexican Town, College for Creative Studies, Yates Cider Mill, U of M Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Greenfield Village, The Heidelberg Project, and more.

Excel also serves as an outlet to elevate success levels of participants. Each student participates in self-development and leadership activities with the goal of cultivating self- confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, and a heightened interest in life-long learning.

For an Excel 2016 Winter/Spring Application, please click here.