“Happy Little Fest,” a celebration of the 80th birthday of iconic painter and instructor Bob Ross hosted by Ball State PBS and Bob Ross, Inc., has been named a finalist for the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s (NETA) 55th annual Public Media Awards.

The Public Media Awards (PMA), presented by NETA, honor members’ work of the highest caliber of community engagement, content, education, and marketing and communications. The 55th PMA winners will be announced on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the 2023 NETA Conference and CPB Public Media Thought Leader Forum.

Happy Little Fest/Ball State PBS is one of nine finalists vying for this year’s “Special Events” award within NETA’s Marketing and Communications categories.

“Ball State PBS is proud to be the home of Bob Ross’ legendary “The Joy of Painting” series. Bob brought the joy of creativity to millions with the show, and our ongoing partnership with Bob Ross, Inc., continues to engage people with their inner talent,” said Dr. Phil Hoffman, assistant dean of Media and general manager of Ball State Public Media. “Bob often said, ‘Anything you’re willing to practice, you can do,’ and our team is thrilled to receive this nomination for their incredibly inspired work to encourage people.”

Held Oct. 29, 2022, on Ball State’s campus, the inaugural Happy Little Fest served as a celebration of the life and career of Bob Ross, whose iconic show, “The Joy of Painting,” was produced by Ball State PBS—formerly WIPB—in Muncie, Ind. The fest also commemorated Ball State Public Media’s 50th year on the air, a milestone reached in 2021.

The event included a 300-person painting workshop with Certified Ross Instructors®; Bob Ross for Kids painting sessions; a Bob Ross look-alike contest; trivia and bingo; panel discussions about Bob Ross and his WIPB connections; and an opportunity for participants to relax to the sound of Bob Ross’ voice in a sensory studio—his actual painting studio—and see 24 of his original paintings at the nearby Ball State PBS / WIPB Studios in the E.F. Ball Communication Building.

Read more about the first Happy Little Fest and the impact of Bob Ross at Ball State in this Ball State Blog post.

Ball State’s on-campus partners for the festival were the University’s College of Communication, Information, and Media; College of Fine ArtsDigital Corps; and the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning.

Local support for Happy Little Fest was provided by Dillman’s Furniture; Chris Taylor, artist; Wilhoite Family Dental; LifeStream Services; Parker Electrical Service; Muncie Visitors Bureau; Courtyard by Marriott at Horizon Convention Center; Windmill Marketing; and Donahue Gas.

For more information about Ball State Public Media and its programming, visit ballstatepbs.org and indianapublicradio.org.