Patron of the Arts: Patty Kelly Stephenson

Warmer weather and a job in the banking industry lured Patty Kelly Stephenson, 35, from Chicago to Charlotte in 2000. When she lost her job three years ago, she began her next career as a freelance photographer and got involved with The Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film. She is an active member of the Light Factory’s affinity group, Paparazzi, which holds social events, gallery crawls and classes.

Behind the lens: “I get absolutely enthralled with the various layers of beauty I find,” says Stephenson. “Then when I view that captured moment in time I see all sorts of things I didn’t fully explore before. That is the beauty of photography.”

Sharing skills: “We have beginners with point-and-shoot cameras and very experienced professional photographers, all willing to share their enthusiasm and knowledge. It is a great group and easy to become a part of.”

Accessing arts: “The Charlotte Arts’ scene from my experience is more accessible than in a bigger city like Chicago,” says Stephenson. “I love to support smaller music venues and see the city from various neighborhoods like NoDa and Plaza Midwood. There is always quite a bit going on; it’s important to go out and support it.”