In April of 2020, just one month into the pandemic, Meli Venegas took to Instagram to share a new but simple logo bearing her name. But the content that accompanied her post spelled out her creative mission loud and clear:


“< Coming Soon > Even though these past days have been challenging for all, and it has been hard to adjust and accept the situation, it’s good to remind ourselves of what really matters and to focus on the present. Despite all this, this has been a good time for me, to dust off old projects and ideas and put them to work…”


Venegas was ready to delve into her love of photography. From aerial drone shots of Honduras' Bay Islands and its famed scuba-diving sites, to gritty yet breathtaking panoramas of New York City’s Financial District, and the colorful streets of Havana Cuba, her Instagram feed was a palette of diverse landscapes and cityscapes. She gave her followers the opportunities to take a voyage around the world, even while shuttered indoors.


But a social media feed alone would not be enough to carry out her mission. “I'm working on a site to host my favorite pics and at the same time support Not for Profit Organizations that I love,” she wrote on Instagram. ‘The site is under construction, but will launch in the coming days, please feel free to give me feedback, suggestions and ideas! Muchas gracias.”


Once inspiration struck, Venegas wasted no time, even during the height of the pandemic. Within less than a week, she created her own website. To make it happen quickly and within budget, she turned to OwnIt.NYC to get a .NYC URL address. She announced the launch of her website, MeliVenegas.NYC, to her social followers and linked to the homepage in her Instagram bio.


Her website is more than just a professional portfolio. It serves as a hub for her mission and lets visitors know what sparks her passion for photography. “I enjoy exploring places and capturing the beautiful, the ugly and the interesting in things. I also like volunteering and supporting organizations that build up communities. This project is a merge of these two passions I have.”


Her clean, professional site serves as a robust gallery as well as an ecommerce, allowing fans to make digital purchases. Writes Venegas, “100% of earnings from the sales of my photographs will be donated to any of the below organizations.”


For starters, Venegas, who is originally from Honduras, is an avid supporter of Operación Frijol, a network of donors, producers, and distributors working together to put food in the hands of Honduran families in need.


She says that she also uses photography sales to support Mision Recate, a nonprofit based in her hometown of San Pedro Sula. It focuses on rescuing children and teenagers living in the streets by offering shelter, food showers and emotional support.


But as her website URL and many of her artistic snapshots show, Venegas is a proud New Yorker, too. For this reason, she notes that she also supports HOPE for New York, which organizes volunteers and financial resources to support non-profit affiliates serving the poor and marginalized in New York City.


“I am a lover of original expressions of self and art. A true street photography enthusiast,” Venegas states on the homepage of her website. In just a few words, she also lets visitors to her site instantly know she is part executive, part photographer, part excel geek, and, most notably, “three-parts foodie.”  It’s these little snippets of text, surrounded by rich collections of her photography, that allow this New York City artist to carry out her dream.