Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center Gets Billboards In Two States

From The Post-Journal, Jamestown:

11/13/2006 - Travelers in Ohio and Erie can now see billboards inviting them to visit the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown.

Lucy Billboard

A grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, combined with 2005 Chautauqua County Occupancy Tax money, a donation from Marriott International as reward for Lucie Arnaz’s performance in January for the Eden Roc Resort and Spa’s 50th anniversary gala in Miami Beach, and a grant from Lake Shore Savings Bank made the billboards possible.

Travelers driving east on Interstate 90, near the state route 528 intersection in Madison, Ohio, can see a winking Lucille Ball against a bright blue background, encouraging them to visit the museums and shops in her hometown. A second billboard is rotating in Erie locations, initially on Interstate 79 near the airport exit and at the intersection of West 12th and Liberty streets.

‘‘It’s long been a dream of ours to be able to put up billboards to welcome more of the world to our Lucy-Desi attractions in Lucille Ball’s hometown,’’ said Ric Wyman, Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center executive director. ‘‘With the opening a year ago of the Desilu Playhouse added to the original Lucy-Desi Museum, we now have the capacity to accommodate many more visitors.’’

Named for the studio where I Love Lucy was filmed, the Desilu Playhouse features exact replicas of the show’s sets, a ‘‘Vitameatavegamin’’ opportunity and vintage memorabilia from the series. It opened in August 2005.

‘‘We are especially grateful to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for stepping up with the initial funding to make these billboards a reality,’’ Wyman said. ‘‘The Community Foundation has been a strong partner with the Lucy-Desi Center since the Center’s incorporation nearly five years ago. The foundation provided support for the three downtown Lucy-Desi murals, the creation of the video enjoyed by festival and motor coach visitors who take Lucytown Tours and the acquisition of the historic cello that played a key role in the creation of I Love Lucy.’’

Advertising Advantage of Jamestown notified the Lucy-Desi Center earlier this year an anonymous donor was making possible another billboard, a new revolving style that Advertising Advantage was launching in Erie.

‘‘It is our hope that these new billboards will inform many more potential visitors of the opportunities that Jamestown offers,’’ Wyman concluded.