The Jim Irsay Collection at Navy Pier

The Jim Irsay Band
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On the way to its final stop in Indianapolis,  The Jim Irsay Collection rolled into Chicago, Jim Irsay’s hometown, on August 2nd at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier where his renowned assemblage of historic and iconic artifacts from rock music, American history, and pop culture were on display.

At Navy Pier

Chicago Splash Magazine’s Jeff Velmont was on hand to view the collection owned by Jim Irsay, owner & CEO of the NFL’s Indianapois Colts and Chicago native opened the collection for a combined public and private showcase at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Irsay has toured the collection through a series of exclusive showings but will be debuting it for the first time in his native Chicago at this historic, free event. This is only the second time the entire collection has been available for public viewing, after debuting in New York.

The Beatles

This one-of-a-kind event that featured a live performance from The Jim Irsay Band with Irsay on vocals,  Mike Wanchic on guitar (John Mellencamp), Mike Mills on bass (founding member of R.E.M), Tom Bukovac on guitar (has played on over 700 albums with major artists), Kenny Wayne Shepherd on blues guitar (Five-time GRAMMY® nominated), Kenny Aronoff on drums (Sir Paul McCartney, John Mellencamp, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and more), and Michael Ramos on keys (John Mellencamp, Los Lonely Boys, Patti Griffin, Paul Simon and more). Irsay’s musical interests began in his childhood when he played the violin and later classical guitar. Velmont thought the music  during the evening was magic.

Guitar collection
The Prince guitar
The Kurt Cobain left handed guitar

The Kurt Cobain left handed guitar was purchased for 5 million (with .5 million going toward “Kicking the Stigma”) at the Times Square Hard Rock Café according to Rolling Stone Magazine.  It is one of two left handed guitars in the collection.

The collection, a kind of moveable museum, is highlighted by musical instruments and items owned and used by some of the greatest artists in music history, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Prince, Eric Clapton, Elton John, The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, Les Paul, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, The Doors’ Jim Morrison, and other music icons, as well as autographed photos, handwritten lyrics, and other historical music memorabilia. Outside of music, the collection includes signed Presidential artifacts, important original documents from American history like an original ‘Wanted’ poster for John Wilkes Booth, Jackie Robinson’s bat, Paul McCartney’s original “Hey Jude” handwritten studio lyrics and other historical relics.

President Kennedy’s Rocking chair
Jackie Robinson

This evening offered a look at Irsay’s collection of historic and culturally significant artifacts covering several decades and focusing on people who positively influenced others.  However, the evening was an opportunity to educate and inform people about “Kicking the Stigma” of mental health.

This is “Kicking the Stigma” from its website-

What Is ‘Kicking The Stigma‘? 

One in five U.S. adults – including one in four Hoosiers – suffer from some form of mental health disorder.

These are our friends and neighbors who struggle every day with depression, anxiety, addiction and other illnesses that take away the quality of life for them and their loved ones.

The Indianapolis Colts and the Irsay Family stand together today and moving forward to “Kick the Stigma” around mental health and encourage anyone battling these illnesses to seek the help they need.

The website contains helpful suggestions and information related to mental health – treatment and prevention of severe disease.

James Brown
Ann Wilson
Buddy Guy
The Jim Irsay Band

The event was the best celebration yet and a wonderful evening.

Sign up for this free event in Indianapolis on September 9th

Photos by Jeff

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