sherley arias pimentel portrait

Life behind the lens

November 25, 2022


Senior Sherley Arias-Pimentel is passionate about photography and bringing about change. Her photo projects have earned her a Joy of Giving Something Fellowship through Imagining America, which selects eight undergraduate students across the U.S. who are interested in using photography and digital media to make a difference in their communities.

Arias-Pimentel grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and began taking photos in middle school. Since then, she has traveled around the world, using her lens as her passport to explore new cultures and places, including India, Nicaragua, and Ghana.

“I love when my photos inspire conversation or change someone's perception,” Arias-Pimentel said. “The fellowship will allow me to collaborate with a community of people with the same mindset when it comes to art and social justice and advocacy.”

After she traveled to Ghana, she partnered with the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement to create an exhibition in Tyler Haynes Commons of her photography from her time in the West African country studying globalization and cultural legacies. A photo series she collaborated on with fellow student Julia Brittain, about LGBTQ+ communities living with HIV and AIDS in Richmond, is currently on display in the Boatwright Memorial Library.

Each fellow receives tuition support and mentoring opportunities for a community project to be completed during the 2022-23 academic year. Arias-Pimentel is finalizing details about the focus for her project and plans to use the fellowship to create a photography exhibition in the Richmond community in the coming year. 

Arias-Pimentel is the second UR student to receive this fellowship. The first was 2019 graduate and filmmaker Jeanette Lam, who created a documentary short film A Flower in a Dark Place for her fellowship project.


Above: See portraits Arias-Pimentel captured in Ghana, the Dominican Republic, and India.