The most famous logo in the sports world earned the artist $50. Ted Drake’s legacy, though, is priceless and goes far beyond the Notre Dame leprechaun.
This summer, the Elkhart County Historical Museum is celebrating the late Elkhart artist and illustrator with a special exhibit at Elkhart Public Library’s downtown location. Original artwork, reproductions and photos will be accompanied by interpretive materials throughout the library June 1-July 27.
A special gallery talk by archivist Amy Christiansen will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 12, in the downtown library atrium.
Museum staff prepared the exhibit with financial support of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.
And, yes, the famous leprechaun drawn in 1964 will be on display.
“Elkhart has a strong connection with the arts, and this exhibit tells the story of a local man whose works became known around the world,” says Amy Christiansen, research archivist for the Elkhart County Historical Museum. “We hope this exhibit adds to the appreciation of Drake’s distinctive style and inspires people to learn more about local history.”
Elkhart Public Library became the perfect spot to showcase the collection. Two large Drake wood carvings – rare examples of his work in this medium – hang in the atrium on either side of the High Street windows. And, while the old entry into the children’s room from Second Street was removed during a recent building renovation, a Drake-painted mural celebrating human innovation is preserved in the storytime room.
Other famous works by the Elkhart artist include the Chicago Bulls logo, portraits of professional and amateur golfers commissioned by the PGA, cartoons drawn during his service in World War II, and television graphics for the children’s show, “Kukla, Fran and Ollie.” Drake, who died in 2000 at the age of 92, also enjoyed creating landscapes and works depicting Amish culture.