Transforming Sand Into Art

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By Scott E. Kinney, Beach News, Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, June 15, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

A sand-made Fire Engine from years ago.
[Courtesy photo John Hirtle.]
Photo not in original article.

HAMPTON -- In just a few days it will all begin.

Artists from around the globe will descend upon Hampton Beach transforming sand into art.

On Friday, June 15, 300 tons of sand will be dropped on Hampton Beach and "The Grady Bunch" will begin shaping the sponsor site as the seventh annual Master Sandsculpting Competition begins.

Beach visitors are invited to watch local artist and master sand sculptor Greg Grady and his crew build a mammoth sand demo site. Once completed they are sprayed with windscreen (a solution of school glue and water) to protect them from the elements and remain standing for viewing for weeks, creating a free museum of masterpieces on the beach.

During the annual competition nothing but sand, water, and a big bucketful of creativity is used to create beautiful works of art out of giant piles of sand.

Over the past few years, the invitational only event has seen dramatic growth, making it the largest Master's competition in the northeast United States.

That fact is made more amazing when considering the whole thing began with a quarter. Grady was commissioned by the U.S. Mint to create a larger-than-life replica of the "tails" side of the New Hampshire quarter out of ten tons of sand during the Hampton Beach Children's Festival.

The sculpture was a part of the larger statewide celebration held for the release of the coin. The giant sculpture was a first for the beach. The following year, the Inaugural Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpture Competition was held.

Some 220 tons of sand was trucked into the beach with Grady and his "bunch" laboring for five days on the sponsor site, followed by a three-day competition of ten world-class sand sculpting masters creating their own unique sculptures.

This year Hampton Beach will feature a sponsor site of a few hundred tons of sand, 13 world class masters vying for $15,000 in purse and entry awards, free lessons and will be illuminated at night for viewing and much more.

The Hampton Beach Village District and sponsors fund the event, in cooperation with the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce and the NH Division of Parks. The sculpting event will be held from June 15-28. For more information visit and click on the Sand Sculpting link.

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