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Peterson returns to Lawton for exhibit to support Art Council

Robert Peterson has found his stride as an artist. 

He has done solo shows from Miami to Soho. His work has been collected by celebrities. 

But his greatest joy in life is always coming back to Lawton at the end of a long journey.

"This is home. I love Lawton. I love the people of Lawton," he said. "I love how they've embraced my wife and my family. That makes you want to stay."

Peterson last took an art class in seventh grade and said he never really planned on becoming an artist.

"I just decided I needed something to do, so I landed on this," Peterson said. "I just kind of ran with it, and I've been running ever since."

Since coming into his own as an artist, Peterson has discovered aspects of the Lawton art community that he had never known about as a kid, such as the Lawton-Fort Sill Art Council.

"I grew up right here in Lawton, but I never knew about the council, which is sad, because it's a great asset to the community."

After discovering all that the art council had to offer the community, Peterson decided that he needed to use his newfound voice to help the council, which had recently lost funding and was considering canceling some of the free workshops it offers to local children.

Two years ago, Peterson painted a mural on the side of the council's building at 1701 NW Ferris in the hope that it would drive foot traffic into the building. While the mural was a hit, it didn't quite have the effect that Peterson had wanted. So he devised a new plan.

Last year, Peterson held a special print sale to benefit the gallery. In three hours, he managed to raise $1,700. 

"As a professional artist in Lawton, I feel like this is my way of giving back to the community," Peterson said.

This year, Peterson is bringing the print sale back, with a few extra hands on deck.

"This year, I reached out to a few friends that are artists locally. So far everybody said yes. The goal is to outdo what I did last year," Peterson said. "It will be myself and maybe seven or eight others. The prices will be between $25 and $250, for signed, numbered limited-edition prints. There might be a few originals from some of the artists, but I'm not sure yet. If so, that would be great. 

"All the money from my sales, 100 percent, goes directly to the art council. With the other artists I've recruited they are doing a typical commission split, they'll get a small cut and the council will get the rest with the goal of helping the youth continue to have somewhere to go to be able to create."

The Lawton Constitution

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