McCrabb: Middletown artist continues giving to community 14 years after his death

This watercolor, titled "Bayberry Cove” by Bruce Peters, is dated 1981. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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This watercolor, titled "Bayberry Cove” by Bruce Peters, is dated 1981. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Sam Ashworth, a Middletown artist and historian, figured all the artwork Bruce Peters produced during his long and illustrious career was displayed in local homes and businesses.

Then last year, Ashworth, who worked with Peters in the art department at Armco, received a phone call “out of the blue” from one of Peters’ sons. Mike Peters told Ashworth that some of his father’s leftover paintings were sitting in his basement.

Peters said he wanted the art to be appreciated and to benefit the Middletown Arts Center where his father, who died in 2008 when he was 93, served as its first board president.

“This is what he would have wanted,” Mike Peters said. “He loved that center.”

So the family donated the exhibited works called “The Art of Bruce Peters: A Look Back” as a fundraising effort to benefit the MAC. The highly collectible works are available for purchase online, and at the MAC, June 1 through July 27 via www.32auctions.com/brucepetersartauction.

Ashworth is serving as curator and director of the exhibit that features art that demonstrates the evolution of Peters’ artistry during his lifetime. The exhibit will be a journey through time and talent, beginning with award winning oil paintings completed during Peters’ studies at the School of Dayton Art Institute, and progressing to his familiar lively watercolors, Ashworth said.

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Bruce Peters

Bruce Peters

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Bruce Peters

Ashworth said those who remembers Peters’ work will appreciate the exhibit and it also will serve as an opportunity for an entire new audience to be introduced to his style.

Peters created “an astounding” number of pieces throughout his career, Ashworth said.

For Father’s Day 2005, Mike Davis took photos of his father’s work and put them in a photo album. He located more than 300 paintings, he said.

Peters was a member of several prestigious artist societies and his works are represented in more than 130 businesses and museum collections, according to Kate Dykes, executive director of the MAC. His artwork has garnered over 40 awards, was shown in 58 multi-state exhibitions, and two of his works are published in “Exploring Color,” an instructional watercolor book.

Peters retired as the director of advertising and creative services at Armco in 1979 after a 41-year career. Ashworth said that department provided all the advertising and promotional literature for the Middletown steel company.

He said it was “quite unique” for a steel company to have an internal advertising agency.

Armco also encouraged its employees to be active in the community and Peters certainly obliged. He served on numerous committees and boards.

And now, 14 years after his death, Peters continues sharing his talents and giving back.


HOW TO GO

WHAT: “The Art of Bruce Peters: A Look Back”

WHEN: June 1-July 27

WHERE: Middletown Art Center,

MORE INFO: The public is invited to a free opening reception from 1-3 p.m. June 11

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