Joy Rides

A documentary film about outsider artist Wesley Willis

Marshall J. Gardner Center For The Arts

Please join us to learn more about outsider artist and punk rock musician Wesley Willis who is one of the artists featured in our current exhibit “Show Off: People Who Collect”. Written and directed by Chris Bagley and Kim Shively, the documentary “Joy Rides” reveals the brilliance and struggles of this incredibly talented artist. “Show Off” Curator Peter Lemke will share stories of his experiences with Willis preceding the film.  Your $10 donation at the door includes lecture, film, soft drinks and popcorn. A cash bar will also be available.

Born in Chicago in 1963, Willis grew up in Chicago’s projects as one of 10 children, spending time in several foster homes and essentially raised by two older brothers. By the end of the 1980s, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and institutionalized for two months.

During childhood, Willis developed an interest in art, and in 1988, he was featured in a Chicago public access documentary feature entitled Wesley Willis: Artist of the Streets. His ink and pen drawings typically encompass detailed Chicago streetscapes, including buildings, vehicles, trees, and landmarks. Willis was known for his ability to draw from memory a completely different location than the one in which he was sitting. After his death, Willis began to receive recognition in the art community for his large body of visual art. In 2008 his artwork was exhibited at the Mohamed Khalil Museum of Egypt.

He also recorded several solo albums and formed the punk rock band The Wesley Willis Fiasco. The band developed a popular underground following as well as attention from musicians such as Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins, Mike D., Jello Biafra, and the members of White Zombie; He went on to record numerous solo albums of novelty rock, toured frequently, and was profiled on MTV and was a guest on The Howard Stern Show.

Willis died due to complications from chronic myelogenous leukemia in 2003.

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“Joy Rides” is part of our Screenings series.

Upcoming events

May

8th
Chernobyl Experience With The Decay Devils

June

5th
James Shirey Horticultural Photography
7th
Farmers Market 2020 New hours! New plan!
13th
Lake Effekt Mural Art Festival
20th
Joe Rauen Live Music With Handmade Instruments

July

3rd
Closed For Independence Day

August

7th
Monotype Paintings Angela Saxon, Anne Corlett, Royce Deans
15th
Plein Air Event and Exhibit

September

4th
Alumni Art Exhibit William A. Wirt High School

November

6th
Suzy Vance Fibre Art Exhibit
21st
Artisan Fair

December

4th
Community Art Show
View past events

Updates

While we are closed due to the pandemic, you can still support us with a donation to help us reopen when the time comes.

Miller Beach Arts
& Creative District

P.O. Box 2405, Gary, IN 46403
(773) 822-8086

Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts

540 S. Lake Street, Gary, IN 46403
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