Raw Materials, an art supply store in downtown Los Angeles, recently moved to a larger location just two blocks from their original spot. In addition to expanding inventory, they are utilizing the larger space for workshops, classes, demos and events. They wasted no time in taking advantage of their new space: their grand re-opening featured a painting workshop led by beloved celebrity Bob Ross (or as close as we can get to him on this plane of existence: actor, Certified Bob Ross Instructor and celebrity look-a-like David Arquette)! Account Manager Mia Fesmire went into the details as to how they pulled off the event and what went into planning it.
“Being in LA, sometimes we have access to celebrities,” Mia explains. “Celia, the owner of Raw Materials, her and her husband Jim asked me to help them make a Bob Ross celebrity-led painting class happen. I followed up with the Bob Ross people; turned out David Arquette was interested, so Celia went ahead and scheduled a date.”
David Arquette is an actor, enjoys painting and loves Bob Ross: so logic follows that he decided to become a certified Bob Ross instructor (CRI). A perm and a gentle tone are not the only requirements; there is actually a three week Bob Ross Certification Program based in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
<Participants having a blast!>
Embracing the Inner Artist
For $100, participants get a two hour long workshop that is instructive and entertaining whether they are a seasoned Bob Ross fan or a beginner looking to dip their toe in; they also get a certificate of participation and a finished painting (that and a world filled with “happy little trees, fluffy little clouds, and beautiful landscapes”). 100% of the proceeds of the event went to Inner-City Arts, an arts education provider in the heart of Skid Row that offers a safe, creative space for students to explore various mediums and techniques. Several members of the media attended, photographing, filming and chatting to David and the Raw Materials team about the arts, Bob Ross, and why these kinds of events are important to the business and valuable to the community.
“They only closed for one day when they moved locations,” Mia explains proudly. A smooth move is already above and beyond—throw in a charitable Bob Ross painting class and you really make an impression! “We had little easels, canvases and paint from Bob Ross: we pulled any additional items out of stock. It was really smooth and seamless, I helped them put everything together. Dave Arquette was so awesome, so personable. He really helped people and was very down to earth. In the beginning he had the Bob Ross wig on, he did a little spiel and then he acted normal.”
The participants ranged from the media to store regulars and even tourists! “There were people who have painted before, people who never had done it. A girl and her mom, they came from Texas! I remember her saying, ‘We have to leave these at Grandma’s house they need to dry!’ The event sold out weeks ago, so they must have added it to their itinerary a while back.”
“They limited the workshop to 20 people, but in the end they let a few extra people in; a few were media. Spectrum News was there filming, and there was a write up in LA Weekly.”
Inviting media to an event like this not only spreads the word of Bob Ross and is a fun way to generate buzz, it also helps tell the store’s story. They are more than a shop to visit for a simple transaction; they are a place for education and fun, a place that makes a point to give back to the community. If this is something you as a retailer prioritize, make sure your neighbors know it! Invite media, write up a press release, embrace film and be sure to let your community know what you are up to on social media.
“It was actually way more simple and fun than I thought it would be,” Mia admitted. At first I was stressing… but he came in, painted, helped people, everyone created something amazing and it was fun.”
Bob Ross is making a comeback–though he never really left. Have you done any Bob Ross themed events, sales or promotions? Have you and your account manager co-created an event that was a huge success? We’d love to hear about it! Reach out at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com and share your story with us.