Making Change - J.R. Willis: Old Town Arts Entrepreneur and Postcard Artist
Joe Sabatini is sure to delight with his talk about Joseph Roy "J. R." Willis (1876-1960), who had a remarkable and colorful New Mexico career as an entrepreneur of the arts. Coming to Gallup in 1917, he operated a camera store and was involved in the beginnings of the Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonial. He published thousands of beautiful but stereotypical postcards about Native Americans and the Southwest, and was called "New Mexico's Aspen King" for his many landscape paintings. In 1938, he built the home, studio and artists' compound next to the Albuquerquerque Country Club which is known today as the Casas de Sueños Historic Inn.