When it comes to downtown Jamestown and "I Love Lucy," the two have at least one thing in common: Gary Peters Jr.
Just about everyone who has been to Jamestown in recent years has been exposed to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz thanks, in part, to Peters Jr., who has teamed up with his father, Gary Peters Sr., to immortalize the Jamestown-born actress via five outdoor murals located on buildings across downtown.
Peters Jr. is also responsible for the 100th anniversary logos of Lucy and Ricky, which can be seen on banners around the city, such as the ones on the corner of Third and Washington Streets. Plus, those who've entered Lucy Desi Museum may recognize Peters' portrait of Ball hanging above the cash register within the gift shop, to which prints are available for purchase.
Gary Peters Jr., the artist responsible for several “I Love Lucy” murals located in downtown Jamestown, is shown in the Lucy Desi Museum gift shop. Peters is also the creator of the portrait of Lucille Ball he is holding, banners of Lucy and Ricky on the left and right of the display, as well as the Lucille Ball 100th anniversary logo above. Most recently, Peters completed the art for the medals which will be presented exclusively to the finishers of the inaugural Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K, which is set for Oct. 12-13.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
Because of his Lucy-related work, Peters was selected to create a logo for the upcoming Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K, which is set for Oct. 12-13, and will feature comedian Martin Short. In addition to appearing on any advertisements for the event, the art will be utilized for the medals which will be presented exclusively to the finishers of the inaugural event, effectively creating a new Lucy artifact, Peters said.
"They came to me and I designed it. It's similar to the 100th anniversary logo, in that it has Lucy's face on it, which is one thing that made it special," Peters said. "It's a different Lucy because you can't just recycle - you have to do something new every time. If people have come to recognize one, they'll look again because it's different than the first. It's that old branding thing - don't change it 180 degrees, change it 45 - then people are more apt to make the connection."
Peters will attend the Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K, and said he is particularly excited to see Martin Short, he won't however, be able to participate. "What makes it different from other races is that it is in Lucy's hometown, up the lake and back down again," Peters Jr. said.
For more information about the Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K, visit www.lucyrace.com.
LUCY'S BEST KEPT SECRET
Peters Jr., a Jamestown native who graduated from Jamestown High School, had a mother, Colleen Lee, and father, Peters Sr., whom both supported his interest in the arts. Some of Peters' earlier memories of working as an artist include creating cartoons for the JHS newspaper.
After graduating high school, Peters attended The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. He returned to Jamestown to make wings for the Cherry Lounge for a year before going back to school at Rochester Institute of Technology to finish his degree. He then began working at RIT's school newspaper doing cartoons. He eventually worked his way up to editor of the school magazine.
Peters now works as a digital artist and animator, but also dabbles in videography, film editing, as well as mediums such as acrylic, oil and watercolor. He attributes some of his interest in art to his father, who, although a high school junior varsity football coach for work, is also a painter by for passion. Every "I Love Lucy" mural Peters has completed was a father-son project.
The Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy of Jamestown has created a Hometown Guide which features many of the Lucy-related locations across the city. In addition to featuring Desilu Studios, the Lucy Desi Museum, Lucy's birthplace, childhood home and Lake View Cemetery where Lucy's ashes rest, it also includes a map with the locations of Peters's murals. His most recent piece, which was completed in October of 2012, is a full-color scene from the "I Love Lucy" episode "California, Here We Come!"
Those interested in seeing more of Peters' work may visit the Dykeman-Young Art Gallery, which is located on the third floor of 100 E. Second St. in Jamestown. He currently has an exhibit called "Funny!," which features caricature-style images of famous classic comedians that have been an inspiration to Peters, on display at the gallery. The exhibit will run through the end of the Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K. Regular viewing hours for the gallery are Tuesday through Saturday from 1-7 p.m. For more information, search for "Dykeman-Young Art Gallery" on Facebook.
Peters also gives area residents and visitors the opportunity to see his talent live and in the flesh during his stand-up comedy routines with his group The Unexpected Guests. The group was a "Friend of Fest" during this year's Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy. Throughout the year the group hosts events at The Reg Studio Theater, located at 108 E. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information, search for "The Unexpected Guests" on Facebook.
Peters is also involved in local the local theater scene, and helps create sets for Jamestown Community College productions with 10,000 Maniacs bassist Steve Gustafson. His work will be featured in the upcoming fall musical "Anything Goes," which will debut Nov. 8. For more information visit www.sunyjcc.edu/locations/jamestown/scharmann-theatre.
Gustafson also commissioned Peters to created an animated music video for 10,000 Maniacs' "I Don't Love You Too," which can be viewed at http://youtu.be/zvf1MoVWsLQ.