By Alexander Osornio, April 13, 2021
As a post-spring break cooldown event, the Cal Poly Pomona Library Club hosted Bob Ross Night on April 5, allowing students the opportunity to engage in a laid-back viewing session of Ross’ television show, “The Joy of Painting,” while following along with the painting process.
Club Vice President Natali Carmona, a third-year public relations student, remarked that the intention behind the event was to help students wind down from the midterm season.
“Even though it was after spring break, we still wanted to do an activity that was relaxing for students,” she said.
The event was hosted on Library Club’s Discord server where students gathered to indulge in art activities while streaming an episode of “The Joy of Painting.”
Carmona also gave students the option to sign up to receive art supplies to participate in the virtual event if they did not have access to supplies at home. These included acrylic paint, paintbrushes and canvases.
Ross, an already well-known pop-culture figure for his show which aired from 1983 to 1994, enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when BBC Four aired reruns of “The Joy of Painting” last April, placing it among its highest watched shows at the time.
Ross’s legacy influenced Carmona’s decision to use his show as the basis for a club event for students returning from spring break.
“I knew that he’s popular,” Carmona said. “A lot of people watch him to relax even if they’re not painting along.”
The desire to create a welcoming and inviting environment was shared by other members of the Library Club’s executive board.
“The whole e-board was like, ‘What can we do to have people come and just relax?” said club President Dannielle Cabrera, a first-year psychology student.
To coincide with the event, the club held a contest on its Instagram page where members submitted their paintings from the event for a chance to win a $25 Michaels gift card.
Cabrera said that incorporating a more informal contest into the event made it “a fun way to get a little prize out of it.”
These sentiments were reflected by students who participated in the event and submitted paintings for the contest. Fourth-year English education student Arcelia Aguirre, who attended the virtual event, shared that Bob Ross Night, allowed her to escape academic burdens and “finally breathe a little bit.”
Aguirre remarked that the social interaction spurred by the event helped make it a relaxing and enjoyable experience, particularly with others that faced the familiar stresses of being a student.
“Even though it’s just a small amount of people, we had fun, and that was just the best thing ever,” she said.
Despite not being familiar with the work of Ross or having painting experience, Aguirre was still happy to follow along and engage in friendly competition with her fellow students.
“At the end of the day, you’re just having fun and you just paint however you want to paint,” Aguirre said.
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