The mission of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is to preserve the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter through its commitment to the development of the comedic arts.
When Lucille Ball discussed the celebration of her legacy with her hometown of Jamestown, New York in 1989, she expressed her desire for it to be celebrated in the form of living, breathing comedy. She and Jamestown knew that a fantastic museum attraction would be an inevitable, but the concept surrounding her legacy that resonated with Lucille Ball the most was an annual festival of contemporary comedy and a thriving comedic arts center, making her hometown into a hub of humor and developing the comedy legends of tomorrow.
The Legacy of Laughter mission platform is comprised of four segments:
- The Legacy of Laughter Award and Hall of Fame, honoring annually the comedian who most exemplifies Lucy and Desi and the mission of the Center.
- The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival which will return the Center to its roots when the likes of (then unknowns) Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres and Paula Poundstone played in Jamestown during early festival programming.
- A Comedy Film Festival that will inspire new artists to follow Lucy and Desi’s footsteps and delve into comedic theater and production.
- The development of a in conjunction with an accredited university that will have satellite programs in Jamestown and the surrounding region. Part of this program will focus on the healing power of laughter and will eventually provide services to local health care institutions.