PAC hosts fundraiser inspired by artist Bob Ross

There are probably few people who can’t remember drifting off, or waking up to, the soothing sounds of Bob Ross’ voice as he painted nature scenes on PBS. His happy little accidents and relatable demeanor encouraged people to try art even if it wasn’t their biggest talent. Now, in the Mid-Ohio Valley, residents can wake up to Bob Ross once again, but in a different way.

The Bob Mob is the brainchild of The Parkersburg Art Center which was born out of their Happy Little Fun Run project. For a donation of at least $40, patrons can sign up to send the Bob Mob to any yard of their choosing within a ten-mile radius of The Parkersburg Art Center. The Bobs will stay overnight and then vanish as mysteriously as they arrived at the hands of Board of Trustees Members, Kelley Cartwright and Kasey Snyder as well as website/booking coordinator Summer Sundstrom and managing director, Jessie Siefert.

“I came downstairs after waking up, and heard my husband and daughter excitedly talking outside. I walked to the front door to see what was going on, and they both were laughing and yelled ‘We got Bob Mobbed!’ I was so excited! I was hoping someone would Bob Mob us. I almost just did it for myself, because I loved the idea so much,” local artist Michelle Waters said. “I posted photos of the Bobs on Facebook, sharing my happiness and our celebration of the event. Not long after, my friend drove by and admitted it was her doing, and we laughed and hugged and I thanked her for absolutely making my day.”

The Parkersburg Art Center hopes that the Happy Little Fun Run will pair physical fitness and the downtown artistic expansion with a creative activity. Originally, the goal was to plan a run with art stations along the route which would highlight all of the new selfie stations. However, COVID-19 kept them from pursuing that option.

“What would people get excited about for a virtual fun run? How could we incorporate our lovely downtown and those wonderful selfie stations and still promote artistic creativity with physical activity? We tossed around several ideas and “happy little fun run” kept bringing all the smiles,” Snyder said. “We were absolutely thrilled that Downtown PKB and McCarter Health Center also loved this idea and were so gracious to offer sponsorships to help make the race possible. Who doesn’t have a memory of Bob Ross? He has really reached so many generations and is an icon in his own right.”

Bob Ross brought so much peace and joy to so many throughout his life, and used his creative talents as a way of doing so. By filling space with his face, it makes people smile, and can remind us of the impact art can have in our lives.

Now, the Bob Mob and the Happy Little Fun Run will team up to bring fitness and art together. Participants can follow the route map through downtown Parkersburg and stop at all of the selfie stations for a break and a photo op or they can create their own 5k route. Once they’re finished, they’re encouraged to send their selfies and photos of your creative running attire and bib to happylittlefunrun@gmail.com to be eligible for prizes. Prizes will be awarded at the end of May

The community reaction to the Bob Mob has been one of excitement and joy. The Bobs have remained steadily booked throughout the month.

“Not only is Bob Ross a well known modern-day artist, he symbolizes the good in the world. Bob Ross brought so much peace and joy to so many throughout his life, and used his creative talents as a way of doing so. By filling space with his face, it makes people smile, and can remind us of the impact art can have in our lives,” Waters said.

Snyder adds that Bob’s views on art align with that of The Parkersburg Art Center. She remembers hearing Bob talk about his technique at the beginning of an episode. He said “something along the lines that his teacher gave him a gift and he wants to share this gift with us and that stuck with me. He truly felt art belonged to everyone and that anyone was capable of making something, even “happy little accidents.” Our mission at the PAC is to promote, enhance and contribute to the artistic and cultural lives of families living in the MOV. Like Bob, we too want to share the gift of art,” Snyder said.

Proceeds from the Happy Little Fun Run and the Bob Mob support art education and supplies for children in our seven county service area. To sign up for the Happy Little Fun Run or to send out the Bob Mob, check out their webpage.

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