John Willis Receives Governor’s Arts Award
On November 14, Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Arts Council included Marlboro photography professor John Willis as one of six Vermont artists honored at the annual Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony, held at the statehouse in Montpelier. John received the Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award in Arts Education, named for Marlboro College’s retired president.
“Photography provides me with a visual tool for exploration and communication,” said John, a professor at Marlboro for the last 28 years and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. “The ways we communicate with each other and the world around us have always been major points of interest and contention throughout my life.”
John cofounded the In-Sight Photography Project, a program that offers photography classes to Brattleboro youth. Collaborating with Marlboro students, he also founded Exposures, a photography intensive that has taken students from Vermont and New York City to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Johns' work is featured in numerous permanent collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the National Museum of the American Indian. He currently has a show in North Adams, Massachusetts, titled “Standing Rock: Honoring the Water Protectors.”
“I have used photography to bear witness, in this instance documenting the resistance at Standing Rock in North Dakota,” said John. John’s exhibition has an opening on Friday, November 16, from 5 to 7 pm, and will be on view through the end of the year at the Cynthia-Reeves gallery, 1315 MASSMoCA Way,