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

December

1st
Our Community Wonderland Artists from Gary, Connected to Gary, that have not been exhibited in our gallery
14th
Patti Shaffner & BP3 Jazz Trio

January

19th
Gallery break Our gallery will be closed in late January while we prepare for our Black History show.

April

26th
Allison Svoboda Mixed media

July

19th
Rashelle Roos & Joe Agati Paintings and sculpture

August

30th
Cydney Lewis & Art Garcia Collage and paintings

November

15th
Gallery break Our gallery will be closed in late January while we prepare for our 2024 community show.

December

6th
2024 Community Show Artists from Gary, Connected to Gary, that have not been exhibited in our gallery
View past events

Miller Beach Arts & Creative District

Mailing address:

P.O. Box 2405, Gary, IN 46403
219-885-9114
MBACDarts@gmail.com

Gallery Location:

Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts
540 S. Lake Street, Gary, IN 46403
Open Friday and Saturday, 6—8pm, and Sunday 2—4. Find us on , , and Instagram.