Founded in 2008 by photographer Alicia Hansen, NYC SALT is a photography program for underprivileged high-schoolers in New York City that utilizes experienced photographers as mentors. With this model, the nonprofit gives students the opportunity to develop their talents and explore their artistic passions.
"People always ask me, 'What does SALT stand for?' and as much as I wish we had a clever acronym, it's really a metaphor for our desire to use digital photography to flavor and preserve the lives of inner-city teens in New York City," Hansen told PEOPLE.
The support provided by NYC SALT allows students to leave the program with a gorgeous personal portfolio, which becomes a powerful tool in the next step of their careers and lives.
"Since our founding in 2008, we have had a 100% college acceptance rate among our graduates, the majority being the first generation in their family to go to college." Hansen explained. "Our students have won numerous awards and scholarships for their photography and have ranked in the top photography portfolios in the country."
As another successful year at SALT draws to a close, the current group of students are preparing to exhibit their work in the program's annual gallery show. Straight from the teens' portfolios, these pieces intimately capture New York City's faces and moments, as perceived by the upcoming generation of creative minds.
Check out a sample (below) of the works now exhibited in NYC SALT's June 5 showcase at The Bath House Studios.
"Melanie" by Merelyn Bucio
Merelyn Bucio / NYC SALT
"180th street" by Austin Canales
Austin Canales / NYC SALT
"Coney Island Grandma" by Ashley Bordoy
Ashley Bordoy / NYC SALT
"PEACE" by Irvin Vega
Irvin Vega / NYC SALT
"Solitude" by Donis Almanzar
Donis Almanzar / NYC SALT
To see more work by the program's students and support NYC SALT, visit the nonprofit's website now.