Wearable Art Show at OS Convention Center is a party with a purpose

“It’s Only Make Believe” is the theme of the seventh annual Ocean Shores Wearable Art Show this weekend.


For Twin Harbors Newspaper Group

“It’s Only Make Believe” is the theme of the seventh annual Ocean Shores Wearable Art Show this weekend.

The theme is almost a literal description of “wearable art.” The runway-style fashion production — to be staged Saturday at the Ocean Shores Convention Center — is a fun, fast-paced celebration of creativity gone crazy with hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork designed to be worn.

Despite the theme, putting it all together involves a lot of the real-world concept known as work for the show’s creators and producers, Tricia Funk and Eric Bjella. And this year it’s taking a big step toward fulfilling one of their goals, as the show will benefit Stage West Community Theatre’s participation in the Free Summer Fun program for Ocean Shores and North Beach students ages 8-14. The program will run July 9-27 at Ocean Shores Elementary School.

Bjella explained that they have always wanted the show to support something having to do with the arts. He said the show has typically made a small profit, from which they would keep “a little seed money for the next year’s show” and donate the rest to local organizations.

Stage West had been developing a summer theater program for kids when details began to come together on the Free Summer Fun program, funded by the city of Ocean Shores and supported by the North Beach School District and several area sponsors. Bjella said he and Funk will use some Wearable Art Show proceeds to help support the theater group’s participation. In addition, Funk will lead a hands-on wearable art project as part of the summer program.

Bjella and Funk had been looking for years for a nonprofit to help with what has become the most elaborate stage production on the North Coast.

“We’ve said a couple of times, ‘We just can’t do this anymore,’” Funk said. “But people would tell us, ‘You have to continue this.’”

So, the creative couple are “hoping that Stage West can make this part of their regular season and use it for future fundraising,” Bjella said.

The show is packed this year with 24 scheduled artists. Convention Center Manager Cheryl Turner will be this year’s emcee, and Bjella said some surprise special guests are on tap.

He noted that, to try to give some significant help to Stage West’s part in the Free Summer Fun program, they’ve had to increase ticket prices slightly. That had no impact on the quick sellout of front-row seats. General admission tickets are still available for $20 at the Visitor’s Information Center on the west side of the Convention Center, at Dolores’ and Fay’s, and online at www.stagewestcommunitytheatre.org.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and the show starts at 7:30. The artists usually remain in their creative costumes to meet and chat with audience members in the Convention Center lobby after the show.

More information is available online at www.oswearableart.com and the Facebook page Ocean Shores Wearable Art Show.