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Lawrance Twins Exhibit Opens April 3 @indplsartcenter

Press Release
Indianapolis Art Center

Like most identical twins, Joe and Will Lawrance had an inseparable bond. The Lawrance twins grew up to be incredibly talented and nationally recognized artists. Some called them prodigies. Their artistic talent became more fully developed as they attended North Central High School, where they took every art class possible. They could draw, paint and create 3-D sculptures that were sophisticated and intricate. 

A never-seen-before collection of nearly 100 creations tells the story of their talents, their sense of identity and, as adults, their struggles with mental health and substance abuse. 

The exhibit, JoeWill: BetterTogether runs from April 3 to May 28, 2023 at the Indianapolis Art Center. The body of work traces the Lawrances’ creative progress and prowess and the significance of art-making as a means of self-expression. 

“Their work is extraordinary, not just in the quantity, but in the expression and variety of media, themes and subjects,” said Mark Williams, president of the Indianapolis Art Center.

He added, “We appreciate their family’s willingness to share this intimate collection as well as the reality of Joe and Will’s struggles. Despite tragedy, the art endures and serves as an opening for dialogue around the challenges of mental health, offering a safe space for conversations and learning. We plan to do everything we can to continue to reduce the stigma by talking about mental health and substance abuse through this and other initiatives.”

The exhibition is the kickoff for a community-wide discussion about mental health and the benefits of creative wellness. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and for the first time, a wellness village will be part of the OneAmerica Broad Ripple Art Fair, May 20-21. It will feature resources related to creative wellness, as well as physical, mental, emotional, financial, social, intellectual, spiritual and environmental health.

Joe graduated from The Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture in 2010, and Will graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. During their college years, both suffered from anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Theirs is a bittersweet story of two gifted artists whose lives tragically ended as young adults. 

Their parents Jan and Mark Lawrance have found healing and continued connections to their sons through the artwork they left behind.

“My husband Mark, our daughters Erin and Devin and I are happy to share Joe and Will’s work with the community,” Jan Lawrance said. “We hope viewing their art provides a glimpse into who they were and the talent they possessed. We also wish to shine a light on the resources available for mental health and substance abuse disorders.”  

JoeWill: BetterTogether will have a free public opening reception on April 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibition is open for viewing for free during the Art Center’s regular hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Funding for the exhibition comes in part from a generous grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

What:    JoeWill: BetterTogether

When:   April 3-May 28, 2023

Opening reception 5-8 p.m. April 6

Where: Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St., Indianapolis

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