Tags Posts tagged with "Sand"


One of the sand sculptures at the Tybee Island competition. Photo from April Ingle.

In late May, more than 500 participants transformed Tybee Island, Georgia, into a temporary art gallery, created with sculptures made out of sand, and one Nesconset native dominated the scene.

Savannah College of Art and Design student Sabrina Shankar, majoring in production design, was on the team that took home the top prize, the SCAD Landmark Award, for their piece, “Pepe Hall.”

Shankar, 20, answered questions through email about her inspiration, sand sculpture and more.

How do you execute a sand art sculpture? What tools or materials are needed, and how long does it take?

When my partner Ryan Hurley and I decided to create a sand sculpture for SCAD’s Sand Arts Festival, we began planning out the whole process and prepared supplies immediately. The essential tools to creating a perfect sculpture include a bucket for water, a large shovel, a small shovel and sculpting tools.

Fortunately, I have taken SCAD’s ceramics course and had the sculpting tools needed to create fine lines. On the day of the event, Ryan and I split up tasks as one began to get water from the ocean and the other started creating a large mound of sand for the building.

Sabrina Shankar won first place with her team. Photo from LinkedIn.

Because Tybee Island’s sand is a little grittier, and the sun was very strong, we needed to add a bucket full of water to every couple of shovels of sand in order to keep the sand wet and sturdy for when we began sculpting.

How did you come up with the plan for the winning sculpture?

Ryan and I spent the morning of the competition carefully looking at the details that are found in architecture of SCAD’s Pepe Hall. We used Google Maps to screen shoot images of all sides of the building from multiple angles to take with us as inspiration.

Both Ryan and I wanted to create a SCAD landmark for the competition. When deciding on a building, we wanted to feature one that’s prevalent at SCAD and also had a castle-like feel to it. Additionally, Ryan is a fibers major so he spend a large portion of his studies in this building.

How and why did you first get interested in sand sculpture?

Ever since high school I have loved to sculpt. However, the first time I really became interested in sand sculpture was my freshman year at SCAD when we had a famous sand sculptor come in and display his work.

I always knew how challenging, time-consuming and rewarding this type of sculpture was, but seeing his work and hearing him talk about it intrigued me to try it. I later attended one of his workshops where he taught us all different tips and tricks on how to make the sculpture stand out in the crowd.

A few weeks later, I then competed in my first sand arts during freshman year at SCAD, and was fortunate enough to win in the SCAD landmarks category for creating Poetter Hall.

What are the hardest and most enjoyable parts of it for you?

The hardest part of creating a sand sculpture is the hard labor that goes into creating a large base. Besides the countless trips to the ocean gathering water, the shoveling process can be taxing and requires a lot of strength.

The most enjoyable part of creating a sand sculpture is the audience that comes by to check on your work and see how the progress is going. This past year, Ryan and I had an elderly man check up on us during the entire process and he would ask us questions, provide critique and most importantly display enthusiasm throughout the process.

Seeing both SCAD students and the Savannah public cheer us on was a rewarding process.

What was it like to win, how did you feel? What did it mean to you to win for your recreation of an iconic SCAD landmark?

Unfortunately, Ryan and I were unable to attend the winning ceremony due to other engagements, but I remember checking my phone that afternoon and seeing multiple missed calls from a variety of friends. I immediately called one back and she started screaming on the other line a congratulations we had just won SCAD’s Sand Arts Competition. I was so excited and called Ryan to share the good news. We couldn’t believe it, especially after seeing all of the other talented contestants but were extremely grateful.

One of the sand sculptures at the Tybee Island competition. Photo from April Ingle.

Do you want to continue your sand sculpting career after college, and how?

I think it would be amazing to continue sand sculpting after graduating from SCAD, but in a variety of other aspects.

Why should more people start taking an interest in sand sculpture?

I think sand sculpting is a very unique art and although it is very challenging you can always see everyone smiling and having a good time no matter what their sculpture looks like. Events like the SCAD Sand Arts bring back memories of being a child and building a sand castle on the beach.

What lessons have you learned as an art student that helped you prepare?

As a production design major, I have been taught how to best display a space in order to convey the story I wish to tell. Through sand sculpting, whether it be replicating a building such as Pepe Hall or creating an out-of-the-world creature as a free-form sculpture, we are all trying to convey some sort of story. With every cut into the sand there was a purpose and special attention to detail in order to accurately represent Pepe Hall.

I believe that whether it may be SCAD Sand Arts, SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival, the Savannah Film Festival, the SCAD FASHWKND or one of the many other signature events at SCAD, it is so important to participate and enjoy everything that SCAD is providing to us. These events always provide such a fun and engaging atmosphere and a welcomed break to the everyday studies. I always enjoy seeing all of the talent that SCAD students have that I may not see on a daily basis; not only does it provide inspiration, but it also allows me to meet new individuals for future collaborations.

What advice do you have for future art students?

If I had to provide advice to future freshman, upperclassmen or anyone in general, I would say they shouldn’t be afraid to try something new or give something your best shot even if you are uncertain of the outcome. Sometimes, the best kind of stories come from days when we are uncertain but decide to take a leap of fate and venture into a new path. Winning SCAD’s Sand Arts Competition not once, but twice during my three years has been some of my greatest accomplishments at this university and I would have never succeeded had I not tried.

Supervisor Frank Petrone speaks on the highway department's preparation for the winter season on Dec. 11. Photo by A.J. Carter.

Winter is coming — and the Huntington Highway Department is ready for it.

In an effort to make the season as seamless as possible, the department has bulked up its winter arsenal with additional dump trucks, refurbished old ones and updated and digitized response services to make the town more accessible to residents.

Highway Superintendent Pete Gunther said the operations center was recently enacted within the highway department to make the town more productive when responding to residents’ requests for assistance services such as plowing. He said residents could simply email the operations center through the town’s website if they require help, where foreman will be notified via iPads to keep them up-to-date on service requests.

“We’ve become really automated now,” Gunther said at a press conference on Friday. “Anything that comes into the operation center can be immediately routed to the area foreman — whether it’s snow or a storm — and take care of whatever the problem is.”

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said that the department’s efforts are a true example of what Huntington can do when there is cooperation, especially with what he called a “most effective” highway superintendent, who Petrone said has done wonders at his job.

“The people have been served very well by Pete Gunther,” he said at the press conference.

Gunther said the town has acquired 10 new dump trucks this year, equipped with plows and sanders that should last between 25 and 30 years. The town also refurbished 10 older dump trucks with updates like stainless steel bodies to remedy damage from salt exposure.

New dump trucks from the Huntington Highway Department with plows on display at a press conference on Dec. 11. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.
New dump trucks from the Huntington Highway Department with plows on display at a press conference on Dec. 11. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.

The Huntington Town Board allocated $260,000 for the stainless steel repairs, according to Gunther, and the project was completed $18,000 under budget, adding 12 to 15 years of service to the trucks.

“He’ll be in his eighth term by the time he has to do this again,” Petrone joked. Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) said Gunther and his team planned on bringing the town forward in terms of technology.

“To be this prepared this early without the snow is a testament to your leadership,” Edwards said to Gunther.

As for technology upgrades, the department gained 200 portable GPS devices to give to private contractors who help the department during emergencies, allowing the department to reposition equipment in real-time.

Petrone said the town has also mobilized town workers so that they are available if needed for larger highway department projects.

Gunther also urged residents to not park their cars on the street during a storm, as well as leaving basketball hoops set up in the street, to help make plowing as quick and effective as possible.

Thanks to the improvements and upgrades, Guther said, “We are a more efficient and better highway department.”

Huntington Town hosts 4th Annual Sand Castle Contest

Five teams competed in Huntington Town’s 4th Annual Sand Castle contest, held at Crab Meadow Beach on Wednesday, Aug. 19. The event, hosted by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson’s (D) office, included lifeguards as judges and teams won awards for designs that were most creative, most original and more.

Asharoken Village beach. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Asharoken Village residents will soon have to decide if they want support a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-backed proposal to replenish the community’s eroding beaches.

The $30 million idea involves building the beach back up with more sand to fight erosion. The issue concerning many residents is that in order for the plan to go into effect, public access must be granted to private properties that have new sand put down on their beaches.

Currently, the public is only afforded access of a private beach property below the water line. However, if the village board approves this proposal, the public would have access above the mean high water line to certain private properties.

Some trustees on the village board have said they will not approve a plan that residents don’t agree with.
According to Village Trustee Mel Ettinger, five public access points need to be established for this pitch to go through. He said currently the public can access private beaches from two different areas, and are not trespassing as long as they are below the mean high water line.

Since the Army Corps of Engineers is largely funding the project, public access is a must in order for the proposal to go through. The Army Corps would pay for 89.5 percent of the $30 million costs to help fight beach erosion, and the village would have to pay 10.5 percent, or about $3 million dollars.

“The board of trustees and the mayor are doing our due diligence in exploring the issues associated with putting sand on the beaches and making sure residents are being heard,” Ettinger said in a recent phone interview.

At the end of June, the Army Corps presented the board with five different versions of the proposal, all varying in costs and methods.

On June 30, the Army Corps met with the village board and recommended a plan that consists of a berm and a dune system with groins on the northwestern end of the project area. This area includes the properties on the side of Asharoken Avenue that touches the Long Island Sound.

Berms are wedges of sand that face the sea. They are composed of sand from offshore, and help indicate that the beach has been gaining sand in recent weeks or months. Dunes are hills of sand that have either accumulated over time or have been bulldozed in. Artificial dunes help to hold an eroding shoreline in place.

“Groins in combination with new sand would reduce the erosional effect of existing groins and reduce the frequency of re-nourishments needed,” James D’Ambrosio, public affairs spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers said.

According to D’Ambrosio, if the residents of Asharoken do not approve this idea, then the Hurricane Sandy funds that were allocated this project would be used elsewhere.

Ettinger said once the board decides on a plan, it is required to write a letter to the Army Corps requesting which plan they want to go ahead with. Then, assuming the Army Corps approves the decision, the board will prepare a presentation to the village residents that explain all aspects of what it would mean to move forward with the plan.

“The best decision is to come up with a plan that the residents are in agreement with,” Mayor Greg Letica said in a recent phone interview.

Letica also mentioned that there are other options to ensure the safety and longevity of the beaches in Asharoken while still maintaining private access. If residents themselves entirely footed the bill, then there would be no need for the Army Corps financial assistance, and thus no obligation to make private beaches public.

“We need to protect the beaches, I understand the residents that don’t want to give access to their private property, but I think this is something we need to do,” Christine Peterson, an Asharoken resident said in a recent interview. “It’s not like we’re opening up a new beach and expect many new visitors to come and use it.”

Pols reopen beach after seven years

The shore at the Centerport Yacht Club is open. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The push to clean up Suffolk County’s water quality saw a major milestone on one Centerport shorefront Monday.

Lawmakers and community members gathered at the Centerport Yacht Club on Northport Harbor on a hot summer day to mark the reopening of the beach, which had been shuttered for seven years because of its poor water quality. The harbor is celebrating a cleaner bill of health thanks to multi-governmental efforts to reduce pollution — most significantly through recent upgrades to the Northport wastewater treatment plant.

“Today is unprecedented due to the efforts of many stakeholders,” Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) announced at a press conference inside the clubhouse. “…This is the result of a lot of hard work.”

Officials cut a ribbon to mark the reopening of the beach at Centerport Yacht Club. Photo by Rohma Abbas
Officials cut a ribbon to mark the reopening of the beach at Centerport Yacht Club. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), Spencer and a number of Huntington Town officials including Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) cut the ribbon opening the beach, and the county officials hand-delivered a beach permit to the supervisor.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services, with oversight from the New York State Department of Health, conducted more than 600 tests in 20 locations at the beach since April, Spencer said. The results found that the quality of the water meets “required stringent standards,” Spencer’s office said in a statement.

Northport Harbor, once the “epicenter of red tide in the Northeast,” has seen a dramatic reduction of nitrogen, from 19.4 lbs. per day to 7.5 lbs. And there’s been no red tide in the harbor in the last three seasons, Spencer’s office said.

Officials said a significant upgrade to the Northport sewage treatment plant had a huge hand in turning the tide.

Bellone, who said the county is facing a “water quality crisis,” recognized Northport Village officials for being on top of the issue. He called the rehabilitation of Northport Harbor an “example of what we need to do around the county.”

Petrone and Bellone said Spencer had a big hand in making waves on the issue.

“The doctor’s orders worked,” Petrone said.

Young bathers dive into the waters of a newly reopened beach at the Centerport Yacht Club. Photo by Rohma Abbas
Young bathers dive into the waters of a newly reopened beach at the Centerport Yacht Club. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The issue of Northport Harbor’s water quality gained steam among Centerport Yacht Club members when Joe Marency, past commodore, was at the helm about five years ago. He praised the beach reopening at Monday’s press conference.

“There’s still a lot to do but this is a big step in the right direction,” he said.

At the close of the press conference, lawmakers gathered outside the club on the water. They excitedly uprooted a “no swimming” sign posted there, and Bellone and Spencer exclaimed, “Who’s going in?”

Assemblyman Andy Raia (R-East Northport) waded into the water, ankle-deep. It took a pair of bold bathers seconds to dart towards the shore and dive in.

“It’s beautiful and warm,” said Randall Fenderson, one of the swimmers who emerged from the water.

Fenderson, who presently lives in Santa Monica, California, said he grew up in the area and has a personal connection to the beach, and was sad to see it closed.

A group of children also made their way to the water, include Greenlawn sisters Paige and Madelyn Quigley. The girls, 6-years old and 10 years old, also said the water felt nice.

“Now we’ll be in here forever,” Madelyn said.