Increasing Family Well-being & Enterprise Cooperation
What might it take for a strong opinionated individual to collaborate with a very different thinking relative?
Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman were seated on stage dressed, as you would imagine new New Mexicans, from the east, would. Their clothing reflected both their east coast roots and their adaptation to their new residence in Belen, New Mexico. They were at the New Mexican Art Museum in August to talk about their collaboration as artists, humans, and as husband and wife. 
I was in the audience after seeing their art exhibit the day before. I have two confessions. First, I love Judy Chicago!  It starts with her name change from Cohen to Gerowitz to Chicago. I loved the only work I had ever seen by Judy, "The Dinner Party
." The Dinner party was produced from 1974 to 1979 as an art installation representing dramatic, "in your face," feminist art. The art installation was a
triangle, measuring 48-feet by 43-feet by 36-feet, consisting of 39 place settings. Each place setting commemorates a historical or mythical female figure, such as artists, goddesses, activists and martyrs. It represented the physical, spiritual and emotional characteristics of woman. Second, it always made me both cringe and smile because I thought about it compared to my own mother's dinner parties in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Judy and Donald, the husband and wife team, were articulate about how they had come to bridge their differences. They are at first glance, polar opposites. You can almost see the sparks that would ignite as they wrestled through their differences. However, they described another process that had worked for them. They found that both of them were in interested in learning more about a subject that they knew very little about, the holocaust. Their mutual interest and ignorance caught their energy and creativity. They researched the facts, sought out original documents, and traveled to Europe to learn and interview witnesses - they became learning partners. They learned together about an area of common interest and through the process of learning together, they came to understand one another differently. 
I left the auditorium wondering if this could be a process for very different individual family members to bridge the differences that live between and among generations. 

Could differences, that are alive and well in all families, be addressed by learning something completely new, together?  

~ Kathleen K. Wiseman

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More questions about Navigating Systems or How to Register?
Kathleen K. Wiseman: (202) 812-1449
Priscilla J. Friesen: (202) 262-2478