Pairing photographic portraits and text drawn from interviews, Libby Hillhouse describes this exhibit as an expression of love for the world of which everyone is a part. As she explains, "In many Vermont communities there is a population of people living below the poverty line. In fact, in this difficult economic crisis, more and more of us have moved into the arena of ‘low income’ by virtue of events not in our control."
"’Parallels’ is my attempt to offer an intimate view into the lives of some of our low-income residents," she continues. "The courage and outlook of those who make their way through these circumstances mirrors, in wonderful ways, the lives of most middle-income people. I want to offer an opportunity for them to tell their stories, be heard, seen and, ultimately, known. Our lives may, indeed, be parallel. The unfortunate reality is that parallel lines do not meet."
Libby Hillhouse is a graduate of the School for International Training's Conflict Transformation Across Cultures program as well as a teacher for Speakers of Other Languages. She has lived and taught English in both Israel and the West Bank. Libby is also the past director for Kids4Peace, an interfaith cross-cultural program for peace. Currently she is based at the Community Restorative Justice Center in St. Johnsbury, Vermont with the prisoner re-entry program and is a Guardian ad Litem in Juvenile Court.
Working for social justice and cultural understanding have long been passions for Hillhouse, as has photography. This project is a blending of both of these interests, drawing together the intimacies of personal lives within the tension of social and cultural separation.
"Ultimately, I want people to view these photos, read the vignettes and come away with a new sense of this community as somehow more whole. It would be a bonus of we began to say hello as we pass on the street or even sit awhile to chat," Libby Hillhouse concluded. “Parallels” was first exhibited as a part of the Courageous Conversations through Art series at Catamount Arts in St Johnsbury.