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Ball State's Ross Fest - Affirmation that Bob is in our hearts

Anyone reading this not know who Bob Ross is?

Of course not. Everyone knows Bob - at least most of us do.

I was once teaching a Bob Ross class in Jeffersonville, Indiana a few years back. The class was packed full of enthusiastic painters ready to paint one of Bob's classics.

"How many of you are true Bob Ross fans?" I asked. It's a standard question I ask just for small talk. I usually go into a tale about how Bob gave me direction in a dark time in my life. I emerged a Bob Ross painter.

"Who is Bob Ross?" one of my students, a 60s-ish adult, asked.

"What the...?" started to exit my mouth, but I contained it - barely.

Ha ha. It's true. She was very literally sitting in a Bob Ross class and had no idea who he was. She signed up because of the pretty painting on my ad.

But she is an anomaly. The fact is that most people who come to my classes are Bob Ross fans. Nearly 30 years after his death the Happy Painter seems to be more popular than ever and nearly everyone knows his name.

So it was no surprise that when Ball State's PBS station decided to host a Ross Fest to honor Bob's 80th birthday, that it would be big - very big.

And it was.

I had the pleasure and honor of joining the Bob Ross company to assist in teaching to a 301-person painting event. 301 people all sharing the joy of painting. I had an incredible time.

If Bob's popularity were waning, the tent would have been packed with the 60+ crowd, all nostalgia stricken. But my students that day were of all ages. Many youngsters who I was helping tell me they watch Bob on Saturday mornings on PBS. Pretty incredible, if you ask me. A new generation of Bob fans is a good thing. There are worse ways to spend your weekends, and hopefully some of those new young fans will pick up painting as a constructive hobby.

Many of those young painters had the opportunity to use Bob's new kids kit. We just got ours in the store yesterday afternoon and we're thrilled with what's inside.

You can take a look at the reveal video Karen did. It's cute.

That's me in the photo above, blurry in the upper left corner, I promise!

I know it's hard to see, but the woman in the photo above is there with her young daughter, seated to her right. I spent a fair amount of time with them. They were a lot of fun, with great attitudes and both were sporting Bob's hair. Bob's art (and hair!) brings people together, young and old. He made art accessible to everyone and made it possible for everyone to bond over a big ol' paint brush.

It's one of the reasons that I teach Bob Ross classes and became a certified Ross instructor. Bob may have been gone for almost 30 years, but he can still draw a crowd and nearly everyone knows and loves him. He still brings us together. We can cast away the woes of the world for just a short time and bond with Bob and his art.

And we can even make a little of our own.


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