"Though there were only a few of us, the SPAO class of 2010 was a widely diverse one. One aspired to be a conceptual artist, another an editorial and fashion shooter, and yet another a photojournalist. In this group, Jason Michael stood out as a meticulous craftsman. In the darkroom, he was always patient, changing the setting ever so slightly, aware that the smallest change could make a big difference. He could spend hours, bent over the print, paintbrush in hand, water running, bleaching highlights to create photographs that possessed a unique sculptural quality. Jason was equally caring in his relationships. Greeting you with a smile, he was generous of his time, listened intently and offered sincere encouragements. I once posed for him, though I prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it. But with him, photography didn’t feel as if it took from you; you felt like you were receiving a gift. I left empowered. Such was the incomparability of Jason. He prompted each and every one of us to be proud of ourselves. Please join us in celebrating him on Friday, September 9th." - Laurence Butet-Roch, SPAO alumna 2010

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We at SPAO are developing a bursary in Jason’s name, which will go to support an artist who intends to complete SPAO’s Artist Residency. Jason had always expressed an interest in completing the Artist Residency; this bursary will provide future students with the ability to participate in the SPAO community. All proceeds will go to the establishment of the bursary, in memory of Jason Michaels.











If you would like to make a donation in a different amount, or if you would like a tax receipt for your donation over $10, please contact admin@spao.ca.



SPAO is a not-for-profit career college and a registered charity. We rely on community support to fund our facilities, supplies, and aid students artistic production. Your generous donation or endowment can be made to SPAO through the Community Foundation of Ottawa (CFO) or directly through the school.

Charitable Number 82730 1672 RR0001


how to donate

1. Online: Support art education today by clicking:

2. By Mail: Donation cheques made out to “School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa Fund” can be sent to:

Community Foundation of Ottawa, 301-75 Albert Street, West Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5E7 OR SPAO 168 Dalhousie Ave, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7C4.

3. By Phone: Call us, we can process your donation over the phone 613-562-3824

4. In person: Come by 168 Dalhousie, view the facilities and see where your support is going. 

The spao story

SPAO is a registered private career college that was built by volunteers and equipped by donations. Donations and sponsorship remain central to SPAO’s operations, and volunteerism helps to maintain a vision of SPAO as a reflection of the community it serves. Your financial support and donations contribute directly to SPAO’s educational programming in the photographic arts.

We teach more than 800 students a year and have partnered with many cultural, social, municipal and federal organizations to create a lasting presence for photographic arts in Ottawa and Canada. Our students include youth, working professionals, and senior citizens, among many others, and we continue to contribute to the exploration of photography in all its forms ranging from photo-journalism to commercial practices. Your support will help us advance and maintain a high standard of programming.

SPAO has been self-funded since 2005. As we approach our twelve-year anniversary we are identifying our key financial needs to continue to sustain and improve our programming and operations.

Photo By Angelina McCormick, Rose No. 6, Secret Garden Series

Photo By Angelina McCormick, Rose No. 6, Secret Garden Series

Target your DONATion

SPAO the NEXT 10

SPAO will be celebrating its 10th year in operation in August 2015. Celebrate with us by donating to this campaign! SPAO the NEXT 10 will contribute to securing SPAO's future in art and culture in region, province and country.  


Please don’t throw out your photography gear! Every little bit counts for us. Older equipment is invaluable for teaching and training, and can supply us with hard-to-find replacement parts.


Help us bolster SPAO scholarships and bursaries to enable students' future success. If you would like to establish or contribute to scholarship or bursary as an individual, group, or organization, or in memory of an individual, please contact our office at info@spao.ca