Friday August 2, 2013

ELIZABETH CONKEY

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Today marks the final day of the PhotoVoice exhibit at 443 Main St. The exhibit, comprised entirely of enlarged photographs taken by students ranging in age from 10 to 19 years old from Arlington Memorial Middle School, Mount Anthony Union Middle and High Schools, Teens for Change, and The Collaborative, documented their feelings about Bennington and how their community affects their health, both positively and negatively.

According to Kiah Morris, community coordinator at The Alliance for Community Transformations and a leader in this project, PhotoVoice is centered around healthy community design, a concept that examines the idea of how a community is designed and constructed can affect one’s health.

The Vermont Department of Health awarded ACT with a grant to fund this project, which allowed for project coordinators to purchase digital cameras and iPads for the students. Each student used a different technique to capture their personal perspectives of the community in which they live, and included images of local building, parks, roads, and landmarks.

The project also received donations from the Rotary of Bennington and Turcotte Design.

Veronica Ariel and Nicole Rau, project coordinators for PhotoVoice, said they enjoyed working with the students on this project.

"We think they did a phenomenal job. The quality of their work just blew us out of the water," said Ariel. "It was great to hear their stories and hear what they think about their community.

Rau agreed, and explained that even after the exhibit closes, some of the artwork from the Teens For Change group will be on display at the new United Counseling Services building currently under construction.

"It’s a project that will live on," she said.

For those still interested in viewing the photos, the PhotoVoice exhibit will be open today from 4 to 8 p.m.

To learn more about ACT and the PhotoVoice project, visit www.actsvhc.org.

Contact Elizabeth Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.