Costumes for a Cause, Walter Schalk’s pop-up shop that was originally slated to close at the end of January is extending shop dates until February 28.
“Frankly, we are finding more places that want costumes and if we can raise more funds for our local high school theater groups, we’re committed to doing it,” says Schalk who opens his shop on 21 River Street in Wilton daily from 10-4.
Schalk, who decided to give back to the community that supported his dance school for over sixty-years, dusted off the racks and boxes that held six decades of costumes in December. It was then that he decided that Costumes for a Cause could not only help others put on performances with minimal expense but would raise funds for local high school theatrical groups.
“I was so lucky,” says Walter who visits with his patrons daily, always chatting about the shows and the vibrant history of his dance school. “I got to work in a profession I loved.”
After the pandemic finally closed The Walter Schalk School of dance permanently, Schalk put the costumes in storage and began putting his decades of memorabilia in order. Little by little, however, it began nagging at him that so many beautifully handmade costumes were sitting unused.
Schalk was at a quandary of what to do with so many costumes, most worn once and all cleaned, sorted and stored by show. So Schalk did what Schalk does best. He put his creative juices to work and came up with a plan to sell the hundreds of costumes at nominal prices. He would then donate the proceeds to local high school theater groups to help these programs continue to support young talent.
“We’ve been lucky with some great sales,” says Schalk. “I just wish I had a list of all the regional, high school and local theaters who could use them. Everyone who comes in has one more idea and so we keep staying open to give someone one more opportunity.”