CLEARWATER, Fla. — More than a dozen professional sand sculptors are creating a special exhibition under a massive 21,000 square foot tent right next to Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach.
What You Need To Know
- This year’s theme for the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is “Sandimals — An Animal Adventure"
- More than a dozen professional sand sculptors are creating a special exhibition under a massive 21,000 square foot tent
- The event will open April 8
This year’s theme for the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is “Sandimals — An Animal Adventure,” which will open April 8.
“You’ll see a variety of different animals, exotic animals, fantasy-like — everything from A to Z,” said festival founder Lisa Chandler.
For an unusual job like sand sculpting, there’s no clear-cut career path.
Sculptor Dan Belcher is working on a lion, about halfway through the tent. He said his interest in the medium started when he met some sand sculptors while studying landscape architecture in Kansas.
“I was invited onto a couple professional projects just as a helper, and it started from there," he said. "That was 30 years ago."
Because it’s an unusual job, there are no dedicated professional tools. The tools they use come from art, masonry, baking — even animal care, like a curry comb brush for horses.
“It’s a nice texture tool, nice for roughing things out, getting good organic shapes, quite adaptable,” said Belcher.
The underlying beauty of this unusual art form comes from a job with no set career path and no dedicated tools. But that's the point, Belcher said — there’s no wrong way to approach this profession and unusual is the norm.
“Because a lot of people see sand sculptures, they think there must be some trick — there’s no way I could ever do that, yada yada,” he said. “But it’s — they just get to see it’s just sand and water, and lets them know that they can give it a try at the beach. You gotta start off somewhere.”
The festival wraps up with a two-day sculpting competition, but Belcher said he hasn't yet decided what he will be making.