Casa Marina, Key West International Sand Art Competition

From November 21 – 25, 2018, eight internationally-renowned sand sculptors from as far as Singapore and Ireland will be competing in the 4th International Sand Art Competition hosted by the Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, in Key West Florida.

The impressive works of art will use a combined 140 tons of sand and draw in over 15,000 spectators to the largest privately-owned beach in Key West during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Marianne van den Broek, event organizer and owner of the professional sand sculpting business Just Sand and Water LLC, has conceptualized her most interactive and impressive event yet. As a highly skilled sand sculptor herself, Marianne knows what it takes to bring out the best work in her sculptors. In addition to competing on a tropical palm tree-lined beach in Key West, Marianne brings in the highest quality of quarry sand for the sculptors to encourage them to give it their all. Each sculptor receives about 17,500 pounds of sand they have to shovel and sculpt into their design.

The 2018 International Sand Art Competition Competitors are:
● Known as “Vincent Sand Gogh,” JOO Heng Tan is the master sand artist behind the internationally-acclaimed sculpture Dirt is Good—three 18-ton sand sculptures consisting of a giant tree, a galactic setting and a dinosaur-searching escapade which were featured in a viral ad campaign in Singapore 2012.
● Dan Belcher has been creating sand sculptures professionally around the globe for more than 25 years. Hailed as the world’s most awarded sand artist including winning 17 world championships, Dan is returning to Key West this year following winning the Sculptor’s Choice Award in the 2nd International Sand Art Competition.
● From California, Morgan Rudluff is returning after winning both the People’s Choice and Sculptors’ Choice Awards in the 3rd annual International Sand Art Competition.
● Fergus Mulvaney from Ireland fell into the world of sand sculpting by fate and has become a highly awarded competitor in events all over the world. Fergus’s creative philosophy remains the same regardless of the material he uses, “I’m guided by an organic process rather than a strict idea,” he said. And of course, sometimes he’s simply guided by fate.
● From Prince Edward Island, Canadian Abe Waterman is continuing to develop his often-unconventional style with not only beautiful but often thought-provoking subjects. He was awarded the Conch republic, as well as the People’s Choice award in 2015 with his Jimmy Hendrix tribute sculpture: ‘Color of a Dream’.
● Representing their home town, Key West wife and husband sculptors, Kelly Lever and Adam Russell, are potters by trade who will show their unique ceramic style in a medium that up until this event was foreign to them. Because they have the handicap of being new to the medium they are allowed to work on one sculpture together.
● Czech sand artist Jakub Zimacek, ‘Kuba’ became a sand sculptor by chance after traveling through Spain in 2003. He has competed and participated in many events around the world and is finally making his debut in several events throughout the U.S. this year.

“Playing in the sand isn’t just for kids anymore — at least not in Key West this Thanksgiving weekend,” says van den Broek. “Our competitors will have 30 hours to craft their sculptures out of just sand and water. They are allowed to use hand tools such as shovels, trowels, paint knifes and brushes however, no electric tools or molds.”

Spectators have the opportunity to get involved with interactive elements such as a Treasure Dig in partnership with the Key West Art and Historical Society, a kid’s sculpting area, and an amateur sculpting competition. In true Key West fashion, the event will provide live entertainment with local musicians.

Visitors can observe the artists at work on their beachside creations from 9 a.m. until late afternoon from Wednesday, November 21 through Friday, November 23. On Saturday morning, November 24, the sculptors will put the final touches on their masterpieces with judging taking place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can cast their vote for their favorite sculpture for the People’s Choice Award. The Conch Republic Award goes to the sculptor whose work best reflects Key West’s culture, and lastly, the artists will judge each other’s work to determine the winner of this year’s Sculptor’s Award.

To enjoy this year’s competition firsthand, Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, offers free access to their beach.
If you don’t want to miss out on any of the activities at the Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, reserve your toes-in-sand dining, book ocean activities such as jet ski tours and water bikes, private poolside cabanas, and more. For booking information, please visit

The 2018 International Sand Art Competition is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourism Development Council. For more information about the International Sand Art Competition visit

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