Supervisors Celebrate Popular Bob Ross Exhibit

County supervisors officially recognized an exhibit that put the Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville in headlines across the nation

and packed the center with visitors for the first-ever public exhibition of the original works of iconic painter Bob Ross.

On Nov. 7, the county board adopted a resolution honoring Elizabeth Bracey, managing director of the Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center, the center’s staff, and Joan Kowalski, the president and co-founder of Bob Ross Inc. in Sterling. Kowalski was Ross’s longtime business partner and instrumental in bringing the iconic painter and host of“The Joy of Painting”to television, and served on the county’s Arts Advisory Committee.

According to the resolution, during the approximately monthlong exhibition, more than 15,000 people visited the center—about half of the total number that usually visit in an entire year. The exhibit also brought in $70,000 in merchandise revenue at a Bob Ross gift shop at the arts center.

Kowalski gave Bracey much of the credit for the exhibit and its success.

“She just completely boosted Loudoun County as like the place to be during a two-month period, and people all over the world were talking about it,” Kowalski said. “I watched one news program in Turkey—you couldn’t understand a word except for ‘Elizabeth Bracey.’ She did a great job, and we’re so proud.”

“It’s an international phenomenon and the county should be proud, as I am,” said Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Service Director Steve Torpy.

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