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

June

7th
Farmers Market 2020 New hours! New plan!

August

8th
Painters Printing: Miller Edition Monotype Printing by Angela Saxon, Anne Corlett, Royce Deans

September

4th
Medley of Art: explore the richness of living in community Group art exhibit exploring a variety of artists' vision of social justice

November

6th
Suzy Vance Fibre Art Exhibit
21st
Artisan Fair

December

4th
Community Art Show
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We are open again: Friday June 19, 6-8 pm

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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