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KSPS celebrates painter Bob Ross with birthday party, fundraiser

Bob Ross for years entranced PBS viewers with the landscape paintings and soothing voice. KSPS is hosting a painting party and Bob Ross birthday celebration to raise funds for the station. Ross, who died in 1995, would have turned 75 on Oct. 29. (Bob Ross Inc.)
Bob Ross for years entranced PBS viewers with the landscape paintings and soothing voice. KSPS is hosting a painting party and Bob Ross birthday celebration to raise funds for the station. Ross, who died in 1995, would have turned 75 on Oct. 29. (Bob Ross Inc.)

Whether you’ve seen every episode of “The Joy of Painting” or you have no idea what I’m referring to, you know about painter Bob Ross and his “happy little trees.”

From 1983 to 1994, the painter with the trademark perm enchanted viewers half an hour at a time by creating paintings of landscapes seemingly out of thin air on his public TV show “The Joy of Painting.”

He instructed viewers as to the paints and techniques he was using, often reassuring them along the way with quotable phrases like “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents,” said in his soothing voice.

Ross, who died in 1995, would have turned 75 on Oct. 29. To celebrate the man who has graced many a television screen, KSPS, Spokane’s PBS station, will host a birthday party for Ross that doubles as a fundraiser for the station at Pinot’s Palette on Wednesday.

At the party, Pinot’s Palette staff will teach those in attendance to paint a Bob Ross-esque landscape titled “Scarlet Autumn.”

The preview of the painting on the Pinot’s Palette website shows a forest in the fall, the red leaves on the trees reflected in a body of water as the sun begins to set in the background.

Dawn Bayman, development director at KSPS, said Ross is still so popular because many people have fond memories of watching “The Joy of Painting” as children.

“We thought it would be a fun way to tap into that nostalgia and for people to have a good time remembering him,” she said.

For a previous birthday, KSPS ran a special on the painter, but this is the first time the station has organized an event in celebration.

Along with the “Scarlet Autumn” painting, attendees can win prizes for answering trivia questions about the painter and enter giveaways.

PBS Nerd apparel and Ross memorabilia will also be available.

Though KSPS holds fundraisers on a somewhat frequent basis, they are usually geared around upcoming programming.

Bayman called this type of fundraiser an experiment but as there were fewer than 10 tickets left when she spoke to The Spokesman-Review about a week before the event, it’s safe to say the experiment was successful.

After such a great response, Bayman said KSPS is open to hosting similar events in the future.

“People want to support a good cause and certainly KSPS is a good cause,” she said. “Their support is definitely needed, and if we can do it in a way that provides a fun experience at the same time, all the better.”


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