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Madeleine Dean: charge official points out her experience in ethics

WASHINGTON – A week ago, Representative Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, was among lawmakers hiding on the floor of the House gallery, donning an emergency hood as tear gas was fired into the rotunda and demonstrators threatened to enter the room.

Ms Dean, almost two weeks into her second term, is now one of the impeachment officials that President Nancy Pelosi of California has appointed to present the case of President Trump’s impeachment on the grounds that he committed serious crimes and offenses.

“The President and many members of this chamber have shamelessly peddled dangerous untruths about this election – despite warnings as to the destination of those lies,” Ms. Dean told the House before voting to impeach Mr. Trump. “Last Wednesday, those lies and dangers found their way inside this Capitol. This hateful rhetoric is another virus – it’s time to take down its host. “

Within the Democratic caucus, she was one of the earliest supporters of continuing an impeachment inquiry against the president just over a year ago and has shown little reluctance in approving a second impeachment. charge.

In an opinion piece that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer after she voted to impeach Mr. Trump in 2019, Ms. Dean admitted that she challenged a number of the president’s policies, such as his “indifference to the environment” and ” inhumanity and brutality towards the vulnerable. ”But she added that while these were not open to attack, the articles of indictment, rooted in“ attacks on our constitutional order ”, were of another case.

“To heal, we need responsibility and truth,” Ms. Dean said Wednesday. “It starts with recognizing the President’s dangerous lies and their deadly consequences.”

At 19, Ms Dean volunteered for her first campaign for a state representative, where she met her husband. After earning a law degree and opening her own practice, she changed careers to become an Assistant Professor in the English Department at La Salle University and taught writing and ethics.

She was elected state representative in 2012 and then applied for a seat in Congress after the 2016 election. In Congress, she won a seat on the House Judiciary Committee. She won her second term by 19 points in November.

Hidden in her pocket Constitution, which she takes with her at all times, is a copy of the Beatitudes.

“I carry them with me because one is a guide to life – a high standard to achieve – and the other is the law of the land,” Ms. Dean said. “One is how to live as a human being and how to live as a citizen.”

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Diana DeGette: Charging Officer Has Deep Home Experience

WASHINGTON – When President Nancy Pelosi was looking for someone to chair the historic debate over President Trump’s impeachment at the end of 2019, she chose a veteran Democrat who had impressed her with a tough and skillful parliamentary hand: The Representative Diana DeGette from Colorado.

“Sitting here in the president’s chair, all I can think of is how serious this debate is for the future of our republic,” she wrote on Twitter at the time. “It is truly an honor that I have been asked to chair the House for this important moment in our country’s history.

Now Ms Pelosi has turned to Ms DeGette again, this time as impeachment official to pursue the case against Mr Trump in the Senate. In choosing the Colorado congresswoman, she chose someone with extensive experience in the House and in the president’s chair.

Ms DeGette, first elected in 1996, spent 14 years as the Democrats’ chief whip – the executive responsible for counting the votes, known as the whip in congressional parlance. She often holds the hammer in the House, spinning in and out of the chair as members of Parliament usually do.

On Capitol Hill, she has carved a place for herself in health policy and as a champion of reproductive rights – a legislative portfolio that dates back to her days as a state legislator in the 1990s, when she drafted the so-called “bubble bill” creating an eight-foot privacy bubble around anyone within 100 feet of a Colorado healthcare facility, including abortion clinics. The bill has survived a Supreme Court challenge.

She is also the author of the 21st Century Cures Act, a 2016 measure intended to accelerate the development of medical products and bring new innovations and advancements to patients who need them faster and more effectively. It was one of the last bills signed by President Barack Obama.

When Democrats regained a majority in the House in 2018, Ms DeGette announced her intention to run for top whip, which would have made her the No.3 Democrat in the House. But she ultimately withdrew from the race, citing “internal pressure” from Democrats to line up behind Ms Pelosi’s existing leadership triumvirate; Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, Majority Leader; and Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the current whip.

On Tuesday, she said she was “honored” to help with this second impeachment effort.

“Trump has shown that he represents a real danger for this country”, she said written on twitter. “I look forward to doing my part to remove him from office immediately.”

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For millions of unemployed, Christmas is a season to experience, not to celebrate

Nicole Craig, an unemployed Pittsburgh mother of two, will not have Christmas presents for her two children, and the ham she bought with food stamps will be far less than their usual holiday dinner. Months behind on her rent and utility bills, she struggled to purchase infant formula and diapers. But there is one thing she couldn’t give up: a little Christmas tree and the trimmings to go with it.

Ms Craig spent the last 7 dollars in her bank account on garlands, a light-in-the-dark symbol of 2020. “It’s my baby’s first Christmas,” she says. “I wanted him to be able to see a Christmas tree.”

Although Ms Craig, 42, lost her job as an at-risk youth counselor through no fault of her own, she can’t help but blame herself when she sees Christmas decorations and other holiday reminders that she can hardly celebrate. “I don’t even want to think about it because I feel so bad for my kids,” she says. “It makes me feel like such a failure.”

For Ms. Craig, and millions of other Americans who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a holiday season more to experience than to savor. With the exhaustion of unemployment benefits and a ruthless job market with few places, many will remember this Christmas for painful sacrifices, not the joy of exchanging gifts and having festive meals with the family.

The arrival of vaccines and the approval of a new federal relief program offer hope, but they come too late to save this year’s celebration – especially with the prospect that this winter could bring the most days of the year. gloomy pandemic.

“I’m really scared of what’s going to happen,” Ms. Craig said.

The long delay in reaching a Congressional deal on an aid bill has meant fewer freebies under the tree even as the pandemic has separated families and shifted the holiday cheer this year to reunions of video chat.

And for many families, the stimulus payments of $ 600 per person approved by Congress are already earmarked for rent and other necessities.

In the meantime, unemployed Americans like Monica Scott of Lakeland, Florida, look to the past for comfort.

“This year the only thing I can do is talk about memories,” said Ms Scott, who was five months pregnant and had to quit her job at an Amazon warehouse due to the risk of miscarriage from loading and unloading. unloading of heavy packages. “The past year has been great – so many toys, clothes and shoes.”

Ms Scott, 34, wants to cook a Christmas dinner with her three boys – 14, 10 and 8 – but food will be limited as it will depend on food stamps and lack of cooking. Ms Scott lives in a motel after being evicted from her apartment last spring, but hopes to find permanent accommodation soon.

“It’s just a bedroom with a bathroom,” she says. “The rent is due and I don’t know where it will come from. I could move in with my sister, but she has her kids and it’s just not comfortable.

Ms Scott and others will also look to food banks to prepare Christmas dinner.

“We usually do rib roast, Martinelli apple cider, a few desserts,” said Jessica Hudson, a full-time student and mother of two from Millbrae, Calif. “We won’t be able to do any of that this year. “

Ms Hudson and her partner, who is unemployed, do their best to make Christmas as merry as possible: They bought stockings and candy at the dollar store, and they have spent the last few weeks searching the local streets. more nicely decorated. so they can take their children by car to see them on Christmas Day.

Ms. Hudson’s 13-year-old Marleigh only had one thing on her Christmas list this year: a family camping trip to Yosemite National Park. Ms. Hudson struggled to find a way to say no. “She’s basically getting an iou for Christmas, that when the pandemic is over and we’re able to travel, we’ll take her,” Ms. Hudson said. “But the truth is, we just can’t afford to do something like this right now.”

Jamie Snyder, who lives in Grayling, Michigan, bought his kids some big-ticket items last Christmas: a new TV for his daughter, an Xbox for his son. But since her husband was fired in June and then accepted a job with a $ 20,000 pay cut, money has been tight.

To buy simple gifts for the kids – a video game, a new sweater – Ms. Snyder used the money she would have spent on the electric bill. When this payment comes due on January 10, she worries that her electricity will be cut.

“We just want them to have something to look forward to,” Ms. Snyder said. For Christmas dinner, she will rely on a program from her daughter’s school that provides meals to families in need.

There is a touch of Dickens in this year’s celebrations, except that the relevant story is not “A Christmas Carol” but “A Tale of Two Cities”. Even as the stock market hits record highs and waiting lists grow for luxury items like Peloton exercise bikes, around 20 million workers were receiving unemployment benefits through state programs or federal governments at the end of November, according to the Department of Labor.

Some of the lucky ones try to give back. Sterling Beau Schecter, a machinery and equipment appraiser, received a 20% pay rise in October and increased his charitable donations to a local church accordingly.

“I am very grateful for the blessing of having a job and I try not to take it for granted,” he said. Mr Schecter, 26, lives in Chicago but was able to return home to Fort Worth for Christmas.

In a typical year, around 30 members of his extended family get together on Christmas Eve. This year, to comply with pandemic guidelines, only his immediate family will be spending time together indoors.

Nonetheless, her mother is cooking up a Christmas treat – with turkey, mashed potatoes, and rolls. Mr Schecter and his friends plan to rent a local movie theater this week for a private screening of a Christmas movie.

Workers like Mr. Schechter have generally been more resilient in the pandemic recession than those in the service sector with fewer skills and lower pay. Although the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in November from 14.7% in April, the pace of hiring has slowed. At the same time, new claims for state unemployment benefits amount to nearly a million per week.

Many of the unemployed come from industries like hospitality, travel, dining and entertainment, which were still suffering from the initial pandemic strike in the spring when a new round of lockdowns and restrictions arrived this fall.

At 10.2 million, restaurant employment is down more than two million from February and fell again in November after rebounding in the spring and summer.

Few experts expect these sectors of the economy to experience a significant recovery until mass vaccination takes hold and consumers feel comfortable eating indoors again. – or, in places like New York and California, are even allowed to do so. Likewise, stadiums, airports and amusement parks will likely remain dormant until temperatures rise and the virus is repelled by herd immunity induced by inoculation next year.

One of those people on hold is Tresa Watson, 44, who worked as a server and host for four and a half years in the premium suite at Fiserv Forum, home of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks. Until she was laid off in March, she was making $ 35,000 to $ 40,000 per year, enough to buy a $ 199 car seat last year for her new grandson, Khalil. .

This year, she gives him a laptop, stuffed animals and a broom and dustpan set from Melissa & Doug, the maker of children’s toys. Most importantly, she focuses on vacation experiences that are priceless, like spending time with Khalil, and feeling grateful that she can pay the rent and keep the lights on for now.

“I will offer love, hope and prayer,” she said. “And keep hope that that too will pass.”

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The evolving travel experience: virtual, real and intermediate

Guided tours have long been the heart of travel, but like everything else, the pandemic has disrupted such experiences and many have gone virtual. But as travel begins to accelerate, existing tour operators are adjusting to social distancing in other ways.

Some complement virtual experiences – for example, guided chocolate tastings with chocolate shipped before the tour – and adapt real-life adventures closer to home, like kayaking and hiking. Others make smaller or private groups and move outdoors.

This fall, a new player, Amazon, took to the strictly virtual model with the launch of its Amazon Explore platform, which offers everything from online shopping tours in Peru to tango lessons in Argentina..

Even in destinations that are reopening to international tourism, some operators wait for the trip to rebound before going entirely from virtual to real. Since Panama reopened international travel last month, Jerin Tate, owner of Panama Day Trips, has only led a few in-person tours and plans to continue offering free virtual birding tours in the Soberanía National Park near Panama City until December.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping, hoping, hoping that there will be some semblance of normalcy then,” he said.

Meanwhile, the trend reflects a continuum from virtual to real, as seen below.

Online retailer Amazon is applying its shopping prowess to sourcing souvenirs with the new Amazon Explore platform. In one-on-one sessions, wheelchair travelers can visit a leather maker in Seattle ($ 20), vintage boutiques in Tokyo ($ 49), and a Norwegian department store ($ 90), accompanied by local guides. In many cases, relevant items are available for purchase during the experience – through Amazon, of course.

Not all experiences are shopping. Amazon offers tango lessons with an instructor in Buenos Aires ($ 90) and a voodoo and cemetery tour in New Orleans ($ 90). A category devoted to creativity, including a Mexican salsa-making ($ 39) and Japanese-style tie-dye class known as shibori ($ 40), often includes a list of items to have on hand for work alongside an instructor.

“Amazon Explore is designed to complement, rather than replace, traditional travel,” the company said in an email.

While Amazon has long been a threat to small retailers, the new platform uses its size and distribution power to connect customers to small businesses around the world. Currently, Amazon Explore offers 175 experiences, ranging from $ 10 to $ 168.

“Store owners, guides, teachers, chefs, stylists, artists and artisans can access millions of customers on Amazon while setting their own prices and hours,” the company said.

To test the system, I signed up for a shopping tour of Kappabashi Street ($ 25), Tokyo’s “kitchen city” filled with stores selling kitchenware. In a quick 45 minutes Giulia Maglio, a guide from Ninja Food Tours, used a hand-held camera to take me to three neighborhood stores where we discussed the different styles of chopsticks (fat and flat for tofu, ribbed for ramen), how to hold a bowl of rice by the pedestal, and the preponderance of realistic plastic foods that restaurants use to signal what’s on the menu.

“The point is also to make you hungry,” she says.

Beware of the temptation to sail abroad. I ordered two bowls of rice for $ 20 which cost an additional $ 20 to ship. But Amazon made it transparent – it charged the credit card I used for the tour within seconds of the session ending – and I doubt I forget how I acquired them.

With travel limited, Americans have looked for real-life diversions outside of their homes, according to Peek, a small-business reservation management platform offering experiences ranging from farm tours to kayak rentals.

This summer, he saw a shift towards what he calls “daycations,” or excursions near home. In June and July, 70% of bookings came from people residing within a 150-mile radius, up from 50% at the same time the year before.

Popular activities included hunting for wild mushrooms in Santa Cruz, Calif. ($ 90) and night boat trips in St. Augustine, Florida ($ 31). Peek user Tanaka Farms in Irvine, Calif., Adapted his farm tours as drive-thru events, including an upcoming Christmas Lights Festival (starting at $ 49 a car).

“People got stuck inside and wanted to find things to do in real life,” said Ruzwana Bashir, the founder of Peek, noting that the company had set a record for October bookings.

San Francisco-based chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate, another Peek customer, has adapted their online experiences, now offering chocolate tastings ($ 70) and truffle making ($ 100) that include shipments of chocolates to attendees. in advance for a mix of virtual and real elements.

“We’re able to reach more people now,” said Cynthia Jonasson, education manager at Dandelion, who said private bookings often celebrate an anniversary or other milestone with attendees from various locations.

Adventure outfitters also book on site. Traffic to 57Hours, a site launched in 2019 that connects travelers to outdoor adventure guides, picked up over the summer as users, mostly locals, turned to outdoor adventures for socially distant entertainment, especially in private bookings.

Guiding services start at $ 80 for a half-day of hiking or surfing, and an average of $ 200 to $ 300 for a full day of climbing or cross-country skiing.

“Many guides who normally take international trips or work in the Swiss Alps are now at home and need to sell for the first time,” said Perica Levatic, co-founder of the company.

Greg Hill, a professional skier and 57Hours guide based in Revelstoke, British Columbia, champions the “300-Mile Adventure Diet,” which he writes for the site, espousing trips in a gas tank as a way to travel from more sustainable way and appreciate what is nearby.

“A lot of times the romance of the faraway kind of blinds you to what’s in your own backyard,” he says. “I find that if you stay within a radius of your home, you are going to see these rivers and mountains over and over again and then your travels will ring out longer than a mountain in Pakistan, because you will never see it again.”

Even culinary company Traveling Spoon, a network of cooks who open their homes to travelers for meals, has found ways to resume operations in person, including moving outside with barbecues in Manila (from $ 74 ), picnics in the Azores (from $ 76)) and cooking classes in an outdoor kitchen near Florence ($ 170).

For those willing to take a city walking tour but wanting to avoid other travelers, including guides, Sherpa Tours uses avatar narrators and augmented reality technology on routes uploaded to a mobile app. .

GPS technology directs users from site to site where an avatar appears on your smartphone screen, discussing the landmark from scripts developed by local experts including historians, professional guides, architects and writers.

After a disappointing walking tour of Quito, Ecuador with a boring guide, Michael Suskind, a Chicago-based private investigator, came up with Sherpa, which launched in 2019 and now has over 150 tours to 80 cities around the world .

“I wanted to find something that eliminates the risk of having a bad guide,” he says.

After trying the Millennium Park Chicago Sherpa Tour, I found the Contactless Tour to be a socially remote way to do the tour – we were able to set ourselves apart from other park visitors and continue to enjoy the narrative – with the high-tech novelty of affordable virtual person tracking (most tours cost $ 4.99).

“It’s very flexible,” said Bori Korom, a Budapest-based guide, writer and editor who has written three tours for Sherpa. “If someone likes to be spontaneous, you can stop and visit a museum or grab a bite to eat, then come back to the tour three hours later.”

For 17 years before the pandemic, Context Travel connected travelers with highly specialized guides, including architects, historians and artists on private and small-group tours, recently to more than 70 cities around the world.

When the pandemic ended travel, the company quickly switched to online virtual tours in a series called Contextual Conversations, with 90-minute live lectures on cultural topics – such as the music of Ireland and the festival. Hindu of light called Diwali – with its experts. (from $ 36.50).

“Our main points of difference are the offer of university tours for intellectually curious or lifelong learners,” said Evan Frank, Managing Director of Context Travel.

Online, The Conversations – around 600 to date – often use the location as a springboard to investigate subjects such as Harlem Renaissance women, the cultural history of Japanese green tea, and portrait painting as used propaganda. by the Tudors in 16th century England.

Compared to in-person guidance, “it’s a bit more of a teacher,” said Marie Dessaillen, art historian and context guide in Paris. “You can’t read customers to see if they understand, but you get that in Q and A at the end.”

An expanded offering called “Courses” includes a series of lectures, including a recent two-day, eight-hour exploration of the Trans-Siberian Railroad with a Russian historian ($ 175).

Henry Lummertz, a lawyer based in Pôrto Alegre, Brazil, has taken the Trans-Siberian Course among more than 250 contextual conversations since their launch in March.

“Traveling and learning is very important to me and I miss it now,” he says. “It’s a way of interacting with people from a place that I would like to visit.”


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Some regions still experience slow delivery of postal ballots

The agency also argued that the daily delivery rates submitted to the courts do not accurately reflect performance, as scores fluctuate based on the day and volume of mail. However, a spokesperson for the Postal Service said it could not provide weekly figures by region.

The Postal Service blamed the pandemic and labor shortages for some of the low rates. As coronavirus cases increase across the country, the Detroit District reported that only 78% of its employees were available for work, while central Pennsylvania reported 84%, according to a court record on Friday.

“That’s one of the things that really worries me this year,” said Tammy Patrick, former Arizona election administrator and senior advisor to the Democracy Fund, a research and advocacy group. “As you get closer and closer to Election Day, your options tend to run out.”

Keith Combs, president of the Detroit branch of the American Postal Workers Union, said the post office was still recovering from operational cuts imposed this summer by Louis DeJoy, the post general manager, as he continued to make faced with a shortage of employees.

Safeguards in mail delivery were better than they once were, but customers were still experiencing delays, Mr Combs said. The Postal Service was careful to try to protect the ballots from slowdowns, but some could fall through the cracks, he added.

Michigan and Pennsylvania are far from the only places reporting problems. Lakeland, the postal service district that covers most of Wisconsin and northern Illinois, has consistently fallen below the national average, along with Atlanta. The Gulf of Atlantic District, which includes parts of Georgia and Florida, also performed below the national average on most days this week.

Other swing states have not experienced such widespread delays. Some Florida postal districts, including Suncoast and South Florida, have mostly had ballots to election officials at rates above 90 percent this week. With the exception of Friday and Saturday, Arizona’s on-time mail delivery rate remained above 97%.

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‘Bob Ross Experience’ opens in Indiana, Happy Trees and all

MUNCIE, Ind. – Lexi Vann lost her race with Bob Ross.

The 19-year-old from Carmel, Ind., Sporting a bushy brown wig that defies the stiff Halloween afternoon breeze, dipped her brush into a pool of purple paint and began to outline it. ‘a mountain range, inspired by an episode of “The joy of painting” on a screen installed on the lawn.

But Ross, whose curly perm and soothing voice clashed with her hectic pace, finished her work, titled “Sunset Aglow,” five minutes before her. “As soon as he started walking with the trees, I was lost,” said Vann, red cheeks.

She was one of more than 100 fans of the PBS painter who made the trip – in her case 50 miles, but others have come from as far as Arizona – for the sold-out opening day of “Bob Ross Experience ‘, a $ 1.2 million permanent exhibitions and painting studio series in the city where the beloved TV host filmed his show from 1983 to 1994, and inspired generations of fans with her yes-you-can positivity.

Their pilgrimage brought them to Ross’s Old Broadcast Studio, Painting Studio and Temporary Art Gallery, housed in a collection of historic buildings that are now part of the Minnetrista Museum and Gardens. Fans dressed as the painter sampled iced tea – a signature he sipped between takes – and tried to recreate “Gray Mountain,” a vibrant landscape from 1992, in a workshop run by a certified Ross instructor. Partygoers meandered along a winding boulevard in a costume parade, with winners receiving bobbleheads from Bob Ross, complete with a miniature brush and bucket.

“It’s fantastic,” said Brett Estes, winner of Best Bob, dressed in a Bob wig (from a costume shop), beard (real) and light blue button. His brushes were stored in the front pocket.

But the crown jewel awaited fans at Ross’s studio, the former public broadcaster WIPB, inside the Lucius L. Ball House (the family gave the country the iconic glass cooking pot) .

Fifteen masked visitors per hour, with timed tickets, could pose with Ross’s easel, palette, and set of brushes he used to create what he called his “merry little trees.”

“We made him as close as possible to how he looked when he filmed here” while still welcoming visitors, said George Buss, vice president of visitor experience at Minnetrista.

The experience – offered Wednesday through Sunday – is akin to an Easter Egg Hunt: Items that once belonged to Ross, like the paintbrushes he used on the show, are safe behind the acrylic. But everything else is just a touch away. “We really wanted people to be immersed in space,” Mr. Buss said. “We have few discoverables anywhere and we know people will find new things with every visit.”

Ross lovers can don a vintage JC Penney shirt like the ones he wore on the show, or flip through a stack of his fan mail. And they can rummage through shelves full of Ross essentials like a jar of Vicks VapoRub, which he used to cleanse his sinuses to ensure a smooth, velvety voice, and the hairpick he kept in his pocket. back to tousle her perm.

But the ultimate Ross Zen awaits fans in the far corner of the studio, where a painting of a misty mountain sits on an easel, one of some 30,000 (copies included) the artist boasted of. produced in a 1991 interview with the New York Times. . (Ross died in 1995, aged 52, of complications from lymphoma; his work – if you can find one – has been listed for up to $ 55,000 on eBay.)

An episode of “The Joy of Painting” plays on the camera monitor – and visitors walking past the easel will find themselves in Ross’s place. The experience can be overwhelming, leaving some visitors in tears.

They can also walk across the hallway to recreate an American living room from the 1980s, its shelves filled with memorabilia such as a Bob Ross Chia Pet and a Bob Ross toaster. “We also wanted to show Bob that the fans watching at home in their living room knew him,” Mr. Buss said.

In another building half a mile from the Boulevard, a dozen masked people leaned over socially distant webs, trying their hand at “Gray Mountain,” in a masterclass led by Jeremy Rogers, a 21-year-old Ross instructor. . (The fourth Workshops offered this weekend were limited to 12 people per class, but Minnetrista plans to offer the three-hour sessions twice a month in the future, for $ 70 per person.)

Mr. Rogers has been certified since 2018 – one of at least 5,000 instructors to complete a three-week training course at the Bob Ross Art Workshop and Gallery in Florida. It offers certification in landscape, flower and wildlife painting and requires students to do about two paintings per day) “It’s pretty intense,” he said, adding that it was speed. required of instructors he found most difficult. Ross completed each painting live, with no interruptions or cuts, in 26 minutes and 47 seconds.

“Do it as fast as him…” Rogers paused and shook his head. “Man.” He said it took him about an hour to finish a painting. Doug Hallgren, a certified since 2003, managed to tie Ross blow for blow in a demonstration Saturday on the lawn.

The trick, he says, is to embrace “happy little accidents” as Ross called them. “It’s about learning not to go back,” Hallgren said. “It doesn’t matter what you might want.”

Jessica Jenkins, vice president of collections and storytelling at Minnetrista, said that while critics give Ross a reputation for kitsch, she’s thrilled to see him finally get the recognition he deserves. The Smithsonian Museum of American History acquired four Bob Ross paintings and a selection of memorabilia last year, and although the museum has not announced its schedule to display them, the Bob Ross Experience currently displays six of the 26 paintings. from the Minnetrista collection.

“A lot of people don’t consider Bob to be a true artist, which is upsetting because he did it on purpose for television,” Ms. Jenkins said. She walked over to a Ross seascape – a gift from Ross’ widow – on the wall of the Ball house. “It’s a lot more than what he did on TV,” she said. “These are the ones he took his time on; the ones he made for him.

An exhibition of 29 paintings by Bob Ross that have never been shown publicly can also be seen at Oakhurst, a historic Ball home nearby. The majority are loans from the residents of Muncie, who tell how they acquired the paintings from Ross’s demonstrations in local malls, or as gifts from the painter himself.

So how did the American television painter end up in a college town in the middle of the country? Prior to the early 1980s, it is unlikely that Florida-born Ross could have placed Muncie on a map. But from 1983 to 1994, the painter visited the Midwestern city four times a year to record his show.

(He had filmed the first season of “The Joy of Painting” in a suburb of Washington, DC, but the audio and video quality was poor. Ross, who has traveled to painting education workshops in the Midwest, wanted to broaden his audience. beyond the East Coast. So when he advertised on Muncie’s public TV channel and his classes were full, he suspected he had something special on his hands – and concluded an agreement to film the series here.)

And the community has long been involved in preserving its heritage. Minnetrista has been planning the $ 1.2 million project since 2018. It received a $ 250,000 grant from the Indiana Tourism Board, as well as support from Bob Ross Inc., the company that owns “The Joy of Painting ”and the name of Bob Ross, among other patrons. (One of them is Twitch, the streaming service that drew 5.6 million viewers when it broadcast a live marathon of all episodes of “The Joy of Painting” in 2015.)

Organizers hope to open the second stage of the project, which includes the renovation of the second floor of the LL Ball house and the opening of a permanent painting studio and gallery space there next fall.

Ms Jenkins acknowledges that the midst of a pandemic may seem like an odd time to launch an interactive exhibit like this, but she says everyone could use a dose of Ross’s calm and positivity right now.

“My biggest fear upon entering this project was finding out that he was not the person I thought I was,” Ms. Jenkins said. “But the Bob Ross that you see on television is very sincere. He put everyone first constantly. I was like, ‘Oh, thank goodness that wasn’t an idiot.’