SANDCASTLES: a Most Amazing Art


By: J. Marlando

 I have always been fascinated by the fine art of building sandcastles because they always remind me of Robert Burn’s snow flake on the river: A moment there then gone forever.

 It isn’t only sandcastles of which I speak. Many truly talented and wonderful artists create superb and beautiful sand sculptures ever as creative as art itself. Yet, the medium is…well, but a snowflake on the river, here and then gone…forever.

At best you can take a photograph of the art but as far as the art itself—you can’t hang it on the wall, display it in your home or place it in a gallery or museum—and, you can’t sell it. It is truly art for art’s sake!  

There’s something else—most sand sculptures are vulnerable to high tide, the winds of time and even carelessly thrown beach balls. (Well, actually, the most intricate and professional sand sculptures are generally carved out of wet, compacted sand. It can take quite a lot of punishment before breaking apart but…it’s still sand. And, some of the more elaborate creations can take literally tons of it to complete).

Here are a couple of truly amazing sandcastles to Enjoy:


If this should be new to you and you are thinking about giving it a shot yourself—it is the one art form that isn’t necessarily solitary. After all, when an actor acts, even when he or she is on stage with forty other players, he or she performs alone just as each dancer in the chorus is in an odd isolation during the performance. I make the comment without disregarding the necessity of ensemble and am merely pointing out that all performing is in a state-of-aloneness for the individual performer. It is simply a big responsibility to know that your mistakes and/or failures can diminish the success of the whole so to speak. In any case, while there is some of this same responsibility in serious sand sculpturing, sand sculpturing can truly be a fun and rewarding group effort. For one thing, there is generally only one artistic director and so friends and other volunteers are mainly piling sand and mixing it or made busy by less intrinsic sculpting. Except for competing in the major competitions, an afternoon of sculpting can be cold drinks, lots of laughter and chatting.  During competitions though, the personality of the sculptors and helpers take on a devoted seriousness that even demand respect and courtesy from the spectators—there are always lots of spectators!

Here’s sand(115106)the kind of masterful results that evolve however:


Nevertheless one of the rules at least for sand sculpting in Long Beach, Washington is that all teams of sand-builders “must have fun.” Let’s admit it, that’s like legislating political correctness into the law—whoops, wrong example, but you know what I mean.

The truth is that professional sand sculpturing is a serious and devoted art. And, like all other art it demands talent, practice and in the long run lots of work. It is, however, in definition, a true art!



The art of sandcastle building is also the most unique art on the planet since at its height it is a spectator’s art. While painters, writers and other sculptors truly prefer to be isolated from others when they work, the sand sculptor is not permitted to create his or her master piece an then unveil it to the public—the public is always there watching, whispering their praises and their criticisms, their opinions and ideas. In a term it is probably one of the most intriguing days at the beach that can be experienced.

If you are interested in participating or joining the competition you can get all the information you need from the internet. In the meanwhile here is a list of the majors:

Imperial Beachsand(115108) California is extremely popular. It occurs in July but make your plans much earlier than this if you are traveling—you want to reserve your motel or hotel in advance as the smallish town, south of San Diego, gets very busy during the season.

There is also Point Reyes National Seashore sand(115116)California. If you’re traveling there the real sin would be NOT to take your camera. Not just for the sandcastles but for the actual scenic wonderlands that you’ll travel through getting to the beach.

There are a couple places in Texas: South Padre sand(115113)Island is one of the most famous in the world since some of the best sculptors are drawn to the competition along with a large count of amateurs. It’s

just a fun day at the beach.

There’s also Galveston sand(115110)Texas but I don’t suggest amateurs to even attempt to compete—the sponsor, as I am told, is the American Institute of Architects so that should tell you enough. On the other hand if you are a fan of fine art don’t miss “Galveston’s Beach” on your menu of shows to see.

Another great place to enjoy the art is Fort Myers Beach sand(115109)Florida. This is a kind of beach to just lean back on and enjoy. And, while you are there, the professional sculptors will share their secrets with you.

If you are seeking masterpieces go to Hampton Beachsand(115107) New Hampshire. There is nothing more to say about this beautiful place.

There’s Long Beachsand(115115) Washington, as mentioned in the above and Cannon Beach, Oregon—this is a fun and fascinating event that even lets the kids participate. Indeed, if fun and family is the objective this is the place to go.

Sand art—it’s a whole different but wonderful world!


                                               MORE INTRIGUING ART TO ENJOY