Newly appointed Civitella Board Director Deborah Willis (DG 2018) and her family spoke with the New York Times recently about their perspective on kinship and collaboration. Willis, a photographer and curator, speaks on her upbringing as an artist, as well as the legacy of creative practice she has continued with her own family. Willis says that the collaborative “relationship [between herself, her husband, her son, and her daughter-in-law] began at the kitchen table, where [they] discussed shared experiences about representation, and it continues there.”

Her son, artist Hank Thomas Willis, says: “Friendship and collaboration are chosen in a way family isn’t. So if a distinction is to be made, it’s in how we choose and seek out like-minded members of our community. Of course, I learned and absorbed so much from my mom’s work, and from my dad — friendship comes into our relationship by our choosing to continue collaborating beyond that early influence. And as I’m married to Rujeko, who is such a talented curator, we all have a shared language of our chosen crafts. Being able to share that with one another is a gift that isn’t a given within a family. To have the two inextricably intertwined — friendship and family — in the midst of a pandemic has been a beautiful thing. There hasn’t been as much of a feeling of loss or separation.”

Read the full interview here.