Gabriela Keator ’17 wanted her senior Horizons project to be interactive and collaborative. “I’m the complete opposite,” says Mikala L’Hote ’17, who admits to being shy, but she was intrigued by Gabriela’s invitation to develop a project together.
Gabriela, interning with Berkshire Children & Families, and Mikala, at the Berkshire Museum, partnered on Through the Lens: a story-based portrait series featuring youth from Pittsfield’s Herberg and Reid Middle Schools. With Robert X. Fogarty’s Dear World Project in mind, Gabriela and Mikala asked twenty-seven students, “What do you want your message to the world to be?” The students were then photographed, with their messages painted on their arms.
The well-received Through the Lens exhibit ran from April 19 to May 12 at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, culminating in a closing celebration and reception. For their work at their Horizons sites, Gabriela and Mikala also earned the Senior Horizons Award at Commencement.
“I wanted to do something interactive and community based,” says Gabriela, now attending St. Louis University. “I also wanted to include youth voices in the project, because they are under-represented, and I wanted to create something that would have an impact. To be able to showcase their stories was really beautiful.”
Mikala, now attending Bard College, agrees. “It was nice to do something for the community and to involve students,” she notes. “I realized how deep some of their personal stories are, and it was very gratifying to be involved.”