North American Sand Sculpting Championship

This weekend we went to the Oceanfront to see all the entries in this year’s sand sculpting championship held here in Virginia Beach. The football-field-sized tent housed the work of thirty-two artists from all over the world, here by invitation only. Their expenses are all paid for, and they compete for a portion of the largest sand sculpting purse in the country, $55,000.

Sand sculpting is a form of performance art. The sculptors have twenty-four hours, spread out over three days, to complete their sculpture. After the judging, the sculptures are left up for ten days for us to admire their handiwork. Then the bulldozers move in, the sand is smoothed out, and we wait for next year’s Neptune Festival to enjoy the artwork again. Here are a few samples of what we saw on Saturday:

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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31 Responses to North American Sand Sculpting Championship

  1. Pingback: 26th Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship at Fort Myers Beach | Fabulous 50's

  2. Robin says:

    Wow! These are amazing. Lots of talent there, that’s for sure. 🙂

  3. I love sand sculptures. It’s incredible the talent people have! great photos.

  4. Huffygirl says:

    So nice to see these up close – I would never get to see this in person. Amazing what the artists can do with sand. I’ve made rudimentary sand castles with the kids in the past, and found beach sand to be a very fickle medium.

  5. pattisj says:

    Lots of talent on display! Thanks for sharing, I don’t think I’m going to get down there to see it this year.

    • Coming East says:

      I love that they have a tent this year, Patti. With all the rain we had today, they would already be washed away. I think they may still be up next weekend before the bulldozers come.

  6. Wow–I can only build a drip castle! Unbelievable.

  7. Al says:

    Patty and her friend (who was visiting us) were there at the same time. Wonder how you missed each other?

  8. Amy says:

    Wow!! I’m glad the castle and the girl’s face got the place winner. Just amazing! Thank you for the slide show, Susan! Have a great week!

    • Coming East says:

      We were amazed by the castle as it was, but when we walked around the other side and saw the girl’s face and realized the artist was depicting her dreaming, we were even more astounded.

  9. Shary Hover says:

    My home town has an ice scuplting competition every year and I’m always amazed at how beautiful the artwork is.The artists put so much work and planning into these temporary pieces. That’s dedication!

  10. People never cease to amaze me with their talents, simply incredible.

  11. I wonder if Galveston has such a thing? And, I wonder how they make that sand stick together?
    Beautiful examples in your slide show! Thank you for bringing it to us, too.

  12. Dianna says:

    Oh my goodness! We were there yesterday afternoon. I was glancing at the folks in the background of your pictures to see if I spotted Motor Man or myself. Wouldn’t that have been a riot?! We were there around lunchtime; how about you? It was a gorgeous day for it – what talent those folks have….

  13. It’s amazing what creative takes humans put all sorts of mediums to! There’s often sand sculpting down at a local beach, it’s fascinating to see. It puts sandcastles to shame! 😉

  14. I love what truly creative people can do with a bucket of sand! You are right, I think it is performance art. Thanks for the field trip!

    • Coming East says:

      You should look to see if there are any competitions in your area, Carol and Julia, though I guess Maine is not known for its sandy beaches. How about rock sculpture?

  15. Wow! So beautiful. After helping my son build a giant sand Budha, I can only imagine the engineering behind these works of art

  16. Wow, those are amazing sculptures — I’ve never been to a sand carving festival, but now I want to go! Which one won?

    • Coming East says:

      There were several categories of winners, Julia, and I can’t remember who won in each. But I do know that the one with the castle and all the hair on one side and the girl’s face on a pillow, sleeping, was the first place winner in the doubles competition. It was even more amazing close up.

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