Bruce entered the theming industry in the early 80's traveling throughout the world creating exciting themed environments from theme parks to movie sets. During that time, he was assigned to develop portions of the ET Ride at Universal Studios in California working alongside Imagineer Dan Dryden, who inspired him to pursue his dreams.
Bruce is a man of many interests. Not only did he enjoy designing, painting, and building, with any medium he could get his hands on, but he also had a passion for cartooning and animation. In the early 90's, he was able to pursue his passion while working on projects such as the talking Pink Panther cartoon and Ren and Stimpy.
His love for sculpting gave him the opportunity to work on hundreds of memorable jobs, including the tree at F.A.O. Schwarz. From museums to hospitals to residential kids' rooms throughout the country, Bruce set no limits. In the mid 90's he was commissioned to concept and design an animated themed environment for a new restaurant that was to be built in the Mall of America. The hand sculpted maquette Bruce created was presented to the owners and soon thereafter, Rain Forest Cafe, one of the first animated themed restaurants to be built outside of a theme park, was built. They now have locations in major cities throughout the world.
In 1993 he was commissioned by Joanna Meiseles, granddaughter of the late Jack Benny, to design and create Snip-its, a fully animated hair salon for kids, which has been reported by USA Today as one of the fastest growing franchises in America.
It was in 1997 his talent was called upon in a way that took even him by surprise. He received a call out of Springdale, Arkansas to create a themed environment. This time it wasn't for a theme or amusement park. It wasn't a stage set, a store, or even a restaurant. This time it was for something entirely different. This time it was for a Church.
He didn't know it at that time, but he was soon to become the pioneer of themed environments in children's ministries. His work, better known as "The Wacky World" style, can now be seen in thousands of Churches throughout the US, Canada, and abroad.
At a very early age he was stricken with a potentially fatal illness, rheumatic fever. Through the help of Easter Seals he was admitted into a Children's Specialized Hospital/Children's Country Home, completely immobilized, where he spent years staring at the sterile walls and ceiling. It was then that he realized his goal to paint and create exciting fun places for kids. Once fully recovered, he set off on his bicycle to do just that. Too young to officially get a job, he began by painting signs and Christmas windows for local businesses. He jumped on every opportunity. No job was ever too big or too small.
Throughout his life he has donated much of his time and talent to schools and charitable organizations such as Give Kids a World in Orlando, Florida, Make a Wish Foundation, MDA and A Kid's Place, to name just a few. It's been his way of giving back for a gift he was blessed with. He may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he was blessed with a paint brush in his hand and has been painting ever since.
Although his passion for creating themed environments started at an early age, it didn't happen by chance. His father, Dick Barry, born in 1903, worked on many outstanding projects including Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 30's. In the early 50's he worked as a stand-in for Clarabelle the clown on the Howdy Doody Show and later appeared as Bubbles the Clown with the Ringling Brothers Circus. He also appeared with Ray Heatherton on the Merry Mailman, as well as the Gary Moore and Today shows and toured with the Tommy Dorsey Band. His mom was also very talented, having performed off-Broadway in her early years with her friend and roommate, actress Gena Rowlands.
In 1992 Bruce met his wife, Vivian, a well established Interior Designer in Tampa, Florida. Both known for creating themed interiors, they were often hired to work on many of the same projects. Before long Bruce moved to Tampa and began working for Vivian creating spectacular themed children's bedrooms in her award winning model homes. It was a match made in heaven. These days Vivian works alongside Bruce and has focused much of her creative energy developing ways to package Bruce's creations so that everyone can have one of his themed environments at any budget. She opened several departments including Wacky World Express where their semi-custom environments are created using art from their extensive Wacky World Studios library; Themes-to-Go, which produces large repositionable peel-and-stick mural packs, and Vivi's Boutique designed for those looking for something unique and whimsical. The Barry's continue to design and create some of the most well thought-out themed products and interiors in the industry.
In 2005 Bruce Barry received several prestigious Aurora awards, the CBA Impact award and numerous Dove awards for creating, producing and directing The Roach Approach and Bug Rangers animated video series distributed by 20th Century Fox. Bruce has been featured on numerous talk shows, and continues to be a motivational and inspirational speaker in schools and conventions throughout the country. In 2010 Wacky World Studios was honored with an Emmy Award for their reality television show, The Wacky World of Bruce Barry.
Bruce's desire to teach others is evidenced on Group Publishing's Decorating Places videos where he shows step-by-step techniques used to create temporary stage sets, as well as Family Net's Saturday morning interstitials called Oodles of Doodles with Bruce, where he inspires small children to draw, paint and create by using their imagination. His genuine love for the arts, his desire to create these unique, fun and exciting environments right in front of you, along with his approachable personality set him apart from the rest. Today, Wacky World Studios remains number one in original design and affordability.
From concept to finished product, Bruce is hands-on. Whether your job is big or small, Bruce and Vivian and the entire Wacky World family are committed to making your experience a wonderful one.