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Celebrating over 30 years of

Empowering youth
through photography





First Exposures is turning 30!


We're celebrating all year long and kicking it off with Looking Forward Giving Back, our annual art auction on May 3rd! We'll be back at SOMArts surrounded by the photography made by our truly talented mentees, mentors, and our community of artists.


It'll be such a special night for us and we hope we get to celebrate it with you!


First Exposures leverages the power of mentoring relationships and photography to empower young people to thrive, express themselves creatively, and become leaders in their communities.


Right now, our mentees’ lives are changing at an alarming rate, and it’s so important that we prepare our young people for the world ahead of them. With compassion, attention, and support, we can help the next generation reach their potential. 



Become a mentor or mentee and join our First Exposures family! 

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"First Exposures is the safe place where I can be myself. My mentor is the one I can confide in when I need any support."

Ella Dean, age 18, fifth-year mentee


We are living in a time in which solidarity can no longer be a noun, living only in our words and on our social media, but it must be a verb of action, protest, and unlearning. Read how First Exposures is committed to dismantling systemic inequality.


First Exposures +

Youth Speaks

Youth Speaks and First Exposures have come together in an innovative partnership to create a safe space for youth, storytelling, and community building in San Francisco’s Mission District. Collectively, for over 50 years, First Exposures and Youth Speaks have provided young people with free access to arts programming through direct mentorship, arts education, and opportunities to amplify their stories for positive change.


Photographers for Our Future

First Exposures teamed up with some extraordinary photographers to launch Photographers For Our Future, a campaign to support the creativity and wellbeing of the youth of First Exposures during this trying time. Each week, we will highlight new artists who has generously donated their work for you to purchase and support the programming at First Exposures. Your purchase will help keep FX free for the young photographers we mentor.

Saadiq_Amir FX.jpg

make an impact

Since 2004, over 95 percent of our Mentees have gone on to pursue a college education.

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