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NerdWallet’s Top 4 Visual Arts Nonprofits

Aug. 7, 2012
Personal Finance
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A picture is truly worth a thousand words. Photography helps capture the true essence of a moment, replacing static words with visual significance. Without photography many would be expressionless, without images, we miss out on so much of the world’s wonder and beauty. Images undoubtedly portray meaning in our tech savvy society as well as the art world. At NerdWallet, we commend these organizations for reaching out far beyond photography through a progressive lens. Here are our top picks for visual arts nonprofits.

Sixth Street Photography Workshop: For fostering underserved artists

Sixth Street Photography Workshop serves homeless, transient residents, and other people living below the poverty line in the SOMA and Tenderloin districts of San Francisco. The workshop introduces underserved citizens to all aspects of photography – participants are the photographers, subjects and audience. More than 300 photographers have participated in the program to date. They learn valuable techniques such as framing, exposure, composition and other technical and artistic elements of visual arts under the supervision of professional photographers. On-going group projects are concluded with exhibitions in San Francisco’s low-income and transient housing facilities. Sixth Street adopts artists from the street, critiques their talents in workshops, then enters them in art exhibits for a chance to flourish. The art illustrates life at the margins of society through unique and diverse lenses of artists embedded in the culture itself. NerdWallet acknowledges Sixth Street for enabling the underserved to transform from a subject of images to a creator.


PhotoPhilanthropy: For providing imagery to nourish social change

PhotoPhilanthropy drives social change by educating photographers and nonprofits about the most effective visual storytelling and outreach strategies. PhotoPhilanthropy believes “in the profound and transformative power of visual imagery to provoke, question, and inspire action.” PhotoPhilanthropy believes that providing photographers and nonprofit organizations with the most efficient tools and resources will help inspire social change around the world. Accurately depicting social plight and environmental degradation through top-notch imagery will drive social change. To inspire photographers to capture the most compelling images of pressing socioeconomic issues in our modern world, PhotoPhilanthropy offers Activist Awards, grants, and exhibition opportunities. PhotoPhilanthropy seeks to provide nonprofits with high quality photography in order to fully illustrate social and environmental injustice. We applaud PhotoPhilanthropy for providing fellow nonprofits with exquisite visual imagery.


NYC Salt: For inspiring inner-city youth to chase their dreams

A grassroots effort in every sense of the word, NYC Salt started as an after school photography workshop for teens in Washington Heights. Once a week, founder Alicia Hansen would host a class using disposable cameras, teaching teenagers the basics of visual arts. “Photography is much more than a hobby,” says Hansen. “It is a tool to keep kids off the street and inspire them to succeed.” The name “salt” reflects Hanson’s motive that the program will flavor and preserve the communities it serves. The program has since evolved into an intensive program and utilizes professional-grade visual communication resources to inspire creativity, problem solving, and cultural significance among its students. All students in the program graduate from high school and apply to college. NYC Salt is much more than an engaging art education program – it is a haven that fosters students to succeed and inspires them to reach their full potential.


Berkeley Repertory Theatre: For showcasing artists to the world

Established as a storefront stage forty-four years ago, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre has expanded from a grassroots venue into a nationally recognized theatre. Known for its innovative approach to performing arts, Berkeley Rep emphasizes passionate creativity from its brilliant actors to its expert management crew. Shows at the theatre present a diverse collection of exhilarating theatrical performances. Averaging one play per year appearing on Broadway, among other prestigious achievements, Berkeley Rep is enacting its dream to set the bar for artistic standards in the world of performing arts. Through productions, outreach, and education, Berkeley Rep hopes to galvanize a thrilling spirit within the audience. NerdWallet is proud to present Berkeley Rep with this honorary title for providing a spotlight for artists to step into and chase their dreams.


Both photography and theatre are fueled by wild imaginations that reach far beyond the grasp of normality. Visual arts contribute so much more to our community than just images. They represent a vital form of human expression. At NerdWallet, we applaud these organizations for courageous efforts of philanthropy through the promotion of visual arts.