Not Much to Look At? Use Your Imagination!

Sundae Horn
Now it’s just a nice, simple, cedar box, but what will it become?
Now it’s just a nice, simple, cedar box, but what will it become?

The Ocrafolk Festival invites artists to think Outside of the Box. 

Ocracoke Alive is inviting local artists to participate in an Out of the Box art project for the Ocrafolk Festival auction. The rules are simple: they give you a box, you turn it into a work of art.

The best part is that it all starts with a party! Artists are encouraged to come to Deepwater Theater on Saturday, March 24th between 6:30 and 8:00pm to pick up a box and enjoy tasty wine and hors d’oeuvres.

“We want this party to be a thank you to all the artists who’ve donated to the auction before,” said Amy Howard of the auction committee. “But it’s also open to new people who’ve never been a part of the auction and want to participate.”

Artists will be able to choose among many different boxes, all cut and donated by Tom Wright, who used scrap wood from his shop. There’s walnut, cedar, poplar, and pine, and they are slightly different sizes. They come unassembled, “to give artists the most options,” Amy said.

Can you really do anything with your box?

“Yes,” Amy said. “Anything. Use the box in pieces or put it together. You can use any materials, whatever you’re inspired to do. Have fun with it!”

Some of the Out of the Box creations will become part of the Ocrafolk Festival’s live aution on June 1st, and some will be sold on eBay. Ocracoke Alive member Carol Pahl has volunteered to list some Boxes on eBay.

“We hope to reach a wider audience with eBay,” Amy said. “There are people who love Ocracoke, but don’t come at Festival time.”

The auction brings in between 15 –20% of the Festival’s budget each year, and is an important fundraiser. Old Ocracoke treasures can start bidding wars, as can one-of-a-kind art pieces that capture the spirit of the island.

“Festival-goers want to buy things that represent Ocracoke to them,” Amy said. “They want to take home a good memory. 

All proceeds from Out of the Box auctions will go to support the Festival.

The Festival auction relies on donated items and the committee is always looking for new and creative ideas to keep the auction fresh and fun. So, what got them thinking outside the box?

Those who know her won’t be surprised that Cindy Fiore was the creative force behind the new project. The Out of the Box idea came all the way from California, where a non-profit arts center runs a similar program. Former Ocracoke resident (and Cindy’s daughter) Kristen Fiore organizes the event for Placer Arts in Auburn, CA.  Her mom brought the idea to the island with her usual enthusiasm for art and artists. The Festival auction committee – Amy and Cindy, plus Susan Dodd, Genevieve Sansone, Merle Davis and Reggie Mosser – loved the possiblities and are very excited to see what comes of it.

“The Festival asks a lot of people for donations,” Amy said. “And we appreciate them all, but we do feel bad having to ask over and over again. We’re hoping this project will let artists have fun making something to donate instead of donating cash."

Amy is interested to see how the Out of the Box creations will do at the auction.

“For an auction to be successful, to raise money, it takes at least two people who really want the same item,” she said. “You’ve got to have bidding wars."

It helps, she added, that most of the folks at Ocrafolk aren’t looking to get a great deal at the auction; they understand that they’re supporting the Festival and want to join in the fun of bidding.

Amy suggests that interested parties check out the Placer Arts Facebook page with photos of the boxes from their 2011 fundraiser.

“In some of the creations you can’t tell that they were boxes to begin with,” she said. “We hope people will come out to our party and get excited about what they could do!”

Ocrafolk Festival Out of the Box boxes are due to the Festival auction committee by May 13. For more information about the Festival or its sponsor, Ocracoke Alive, please visit For more info on the Out of the Box project, visit their Facebook page,  and keep checking Ocracoke Current! 

Comments powered by Disqus