Abstract painter Willy Heeks
next guest for Dec. 6
‘Artists Speak’ event 

Nationally recognized abstract painter and National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) FellowWilly Heeks is the next speaker in Imago Foundation for the Arts’ new “Artists Speak” series. Heeks will share the story of his career in a presentation at 7 p.m. December 6 at IMAGO Gallery, 36 Market Street.  The event is free and open to the public.


Heeks received his BFA from the University of Rhode Island in 1973 and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program that same year. He attended the Tyler School of Art, Graduate School, in Philadelphia, PA in 1977.In the ensuing years, he has gained a national reputation for creating luminous abstract paintings, exhibiting in New York, Los Angeles, and throughout the United States. He was an NEA fellowship recipient in 1978, 1987, and 1989. In 1985, he received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. He received a Painting Award from the American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters in 1989, an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at Rhode Island College in 1995, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 1997 and 2001, and an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant in 2004.

13 Heeks_Nocturnal_Column,2013,60_x60_#0

Willy Heeks in his studio

Heeks’ art work has been exhibited in over 150 group and 60 solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe and has been collected by many museums and universities including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Butler Institute of American Art, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, BostonMuseum of Fine Arts, New York Museum of Modern Art, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tampa Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art, Naples Museum of Art, Portland Museum of Art, Smith College Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, and Boise Museum of Art.


His work is also included in the personal collection of Queen Beatrice of Hollandand in corporate collections at BP America; Bed, Bath and Beyond, Inc.; Little Ceasar’s Inc.; NYNEX; Williams and Sonoma, Inc.; Dow Jones, Inc., to name a few.

IFA’s 2018 “Artists Speak” series features four established artists and aims to heighten public understanding of how artists’ careers unfold and how the arts connect to building community. Other speakers in the series include Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Howard Newman, and Mary Healey Jamiel.

“Artists Speak” is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other funding is provided through the Rhode Island Legislative Grant Program, BankNewport and the Jay Barry Cultural Arts Foundation.

IFA strongly encourages student artists, emerging and mid-career artists, as well as those interested in the arts to attend “Artists Speak” events. A video and monograph featuring all four artists will be created for public enrichment following the lecture series.

“Nocturnal Column,” 2012 (60x60 inches) Oil and acrylic on canvas

by Willy Heeks