Lots of happy little visitors enjoying Penticton's Bob Ross exhibit - InfoNews

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Lots of happy little visitors enjoying Penticton's Bob Ross exhibit

Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford talks about Bob Ross at the Penticton Bob Ross showing.
July 12, 2020 - 12:00 PM

Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford is pleased about how things are going since the delayed launch of the gallery’s Bob Ross exhibit on July 4.

“It’s been a steady stream since we opened on Saturday. We’re bringing in the amount of people I’d hoped the show would bring. I can’t imagine another show that might have done that for us, so in that regard, it’s been a godsend,” Crawford says.

The show's opening was delayed earlier this year when COVID-19 protocols shut down the art gallery for several weeks.

The show has been seen by hundreds of people since Saturday's grand opening of the exhibit.

Yesterday afternoon, July 8, four young ladies were attending the show. As they entered, one of them was overheard saying, “I just love Bob Ross!”

“It’s amazing the cultural resonance he has,” says Crawford.

Those young women entering the gallery yesterday probably weren’t even born when Ross’s “Joy of Painting” television show aired from 1983 to 1994.

Crawford says Ross’s legacy is twofold.

“He had the ability to articulate, to actually teach – think back to your years of schooling and ask yourself how many of your teachers could actually do that,” Crawford says. “He was also prolific. He made over 300 shows, and created a lot of art while doing them.”

The gallery is hosting 32 of Ross’s paintings on its walls, while the at the centre of the exhibit is a mock-up of a typical living room, along with a television that plays episodes of Ross’s Joy of Painting show.

The episodes include all the ones where Ross created the art being shown in the Penticton exhibit as well.

“He’s arguably more famous than any Canadian artist out there, but where does his fame come from – is it commercial or artistic? He hits on so many things including nostalgia, and he had that ability to connect,” Crawford says of the American artist.

The Penticton Bob Ross showing is the first in Canada, and the largest collection of Ross paintings ever shown in one place. Crawford believes the show will save the gallery’s season, which has been negatively affected economically by COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the city. We’ve had people drive down from Edmonton and all over B.C. to see the show, and I know of some people who are planning a trip here this summer specifically to visit the gallery,” he says.

The show runs until Sept. 13, and the art gallery gift shop contains lots of Bob Ross souvenirs.

A testament to the longevity and popularity of Bob Ross is the number of souvenirs available.
A testament to the longevity and popularity of Bob Ross is the number of souvenirs available.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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