November 5, 2020
In the small city of Muncie, Indiana stands a three-story house with white columns lining the front stoop. Now unassuming, the brick structure formerly featured a sign at its entrance reading “WIPB TV,” denoting the camera crew inside recording beloved icon Bob Ross, who filmed more than 400 episodes of The Joy of Painting in the space from 1983 to 1994. Today, the house has been transformed to honor the legacy of the PBS artist, whose joyful manner and positivity inspired his devoted fans for more than a decade.
Formally called the Bob Ross Experience, the $1.2 million permanent exhibit and masterclass series pays homage to the painter by recreating the set where his soothing voice echoed instructions on blending pinks and blues for a sky or adding highlights. A rotating selection of his original paintings, like “Gray Mountain” and “Sunset Aglow,” line the home, which also features a 1980s-style living room complete with a plaid lounger. His personal items, including keys and hair pick, are on display, along with memorabilia celebrating Ross. Other than the artist’s palette knife, easel, and brushes, many of the artifacts are free to touch.
Opened in October, the museum is housed at the Lucius L. Ball House on the Minnetrista campus, a year-round gathering place with historic buildings, children’s entertainment, and workshops. About a half-mile up the street, the interactive exhibit continues in a building where “Certified Ross Instructors” teach masterclasses a few times each month. Participants are encouraged to embrace “happy little accidents,” just as Ross advocated in his episodes—many of which are available to watch on YouTube—as they paint serene landscapes, sunsets, and wildlife.
In the coming months, Minnetrista organizers plan to convert the upper levels of the house into gallery and studio space, according to The New York Times. To follow updates on the renovations or book your own Bob Ross Experience, visit the organization’s site.
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