Fantastic Little Paintings by artist, Bob Ross, adorned the walls of The Mims and Gravely Galleries at The Dunn Center from November 2, 2023 through January 4, 2024. It was the first time a Bob Ross exhibition had been to North Carolina and the largest, with over 75 paintings, ever seen under one roof globally. More than 11,000 visitors poured in from all over the world to see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit during the two-month showing.
Gallery Art Curator Jan Volz expressed, “The response to this exhibit was absolutely incredible. From corporate gatherings to individual ticket holders, people came from far and wide to be a part of this experience. We had visitors from Connecticut, Minnesota, California, Maine, Texas and even London, England.
Robert Norman Ross, an American painter, art instructor and television host known by so many for his permed hair, showed the world how to paint fun pieces of art. He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, CBC in Canada, and similar channels in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. Ross subsequently became known through his posthumous internet presence.
Bob Ross, Inc. President Joan Kowalski traveled to North Carolina to be part of the exhibition kick-off. “It was a joy to have her with us as we officially opened the doors to this exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” stated Sheila Martin, Executive Director of The Dunn Center. Joan shook hands, took photos, shared stories and was an extra little surprise for those attending opening day.
Later in November, special guest Jim Needham visited the exhibition. Described as “The Real Deal” and retired General Manager of PBS affiliate WIPB-TV, he is also known as Bob’s best friend and producer of The Joy of Painting TV show. Needham joined us on campus to celebrate the life and work of Ross with “Remembering Bob Ross… a Conversation with his Best Friend.” Telling stories of their time together, he presented “The Real Story” and was available to answer questions about the legendary man behind all of the Fantastic Little Paintings. A huge success, this exhibit was made possible by Bob Ross, Inc. and proceeds will go toward benefiting NCWU students and to help bring future artists to the galleries at The Dunn Center. To stay abreast of upcoming shows and art galleries coming to The Dunn Center sign-up to receive email updates at ncwu.edu/artgalleries.