Civitella Board Director Deborah Willis, Ph.D. (DG 2018) was recently awarded the $200,000 Don Tyson Prize for the Advancement of American Art. The prize is awarded by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“There is something about looking at images that forces me to question the narratives of the past,” Willis said in a statement. “I have long been puzzled by the imagery of Black peoples, and I have tried to make sense of the story that has been told.”

The latest exhibition Willis has curated, based on her book The Black Civil War Soldier (2021), is on view at the New York University Kimmel Windows Gallery until March 1st, 2023. It features antique portraits of Black soldiers and aims to explore how “memory, personal and public, as viewed through the experience of photography, shaped the history of the Civil War”, Willis writes in her curatorial statement. Willis also co-curated the exhibition Free as They Want to Be: Artists Committed to Memory, available until March 6th 2023 at the FotoFocus Biennial in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Photo: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.