By now you have probably heard that every picture tells a story.
"They offer this mirror into the past," Samantha Berry said, pointing to a table of graphic prints.
If we take the time to reflect on the pieces, we can learn a lot about our own futures. At least that is the case for 21-year-old Berry, who is an undergraduate at South Dakota State University.
"Seeing art in person, as opposed to seeing it in a photograph is two, they're two entirely different experiences. There have been moments where I've seen a photograph and, you know, it doesn't really play to my personal aesthetic. Then I see it in person and it just knocks me on my butt," Berry said.
Berry cannot spend too much time sitting down, because she has a lot to do in the next year and a half. She is not just a student studying the art, she is also carefully picking each and every piece as she curates her own exhibit.
"Sometimes I feel tempted to ask somebody, 'Hey, could you please pinch me?' Because I'm not sure if this is real life," Berry said.
For Berry, this opportunity is a dream come true, and it is not one undergraduates normally have. Students working in museums hardly ever get to put together an exhibit, let alone even touch the art. By using about 15 pieces from the Neil Cockerline Collection, a group of original fine art prints from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Berry hopes to touch others.
"Oh my gosh, the first thing, the first thing I have to think about is the theme, something that is going to tie all the pieces together, and that with this collection, there are so many different themes. Social commentary is one that I'm really, really interested in. So, to be pulling pieces that kind of go with that theme, and then branch out from there and find other ways those pieces can be bridged together," Berry said.
The chance to curate an exhibit as a student, puts Berry ahead of her competitors. Coordinator of Collections Lisa Scholten said the young woman could essentially have her pick of jobs and graduate schools because of this unique experience.
"We're going to be lucky if we can keep her at SDSU until she graduates," Scholten said, laughing. "If she were to get her resume out now, we could lose her very quickly, because she's very marketable."
Berry may have a lot of open doors when she graduates, but Scholten said this type of work study also impacts SDSU and hopes other students take note of these types of hands-on opportunities.
"Just to show you can make a difference in one person's life or a group of people, it's very rewarding. Isn't that what we all want to do," Scholten said.
Come 2015, a room inside the Museum's gallery will house Berry's show, but looking ahead, no walls are likely to contain the young woman's potential.
"I have a path in what I want to do, and this university and this museum, they've given me so many opportunities. I've been able to do so many things I never would've guessed in a million years, in my wildest dreams that I would've been able to do," Berry said.
Using pictures from the past, Berry is writing her own future.
"Again, pinch me, please. This can't be real life," Berry said.