Sand sculpture takes People’s Choice award

PORT ANGELES — Damon Farmer’s “Australia’s Great Barrier Reef,” with turtles and coral rendered in sand, won the People’s Choice award in the Arts in Action North American Masters Invitational sand sculpting competition.

Visitors to the “Wonders of the World” sand gallery of seven sculptures on Hollywood Beach, which opened July 24 and continued through last Thursday, dropped 758 quarters in the collection box for Farmer’s sculpture, with each quarter representing one vote, said Doc Reiss of Nor’Wester Rotary, which organized the festival.

Farmer, of Versailles, Ky., will receive the $750 People’s Choice prize, Reiss said.

In addition to the seven creations in sand, visitors also could vote for a sidewalk chalk rendering of an orca that looked three-dimensional when viewed from a certain angle. That artwork, which was at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain at Laurel and First streets, was damaged during rainfall July 25.

The judges’ selections were announced the day after the sand gallery opened.

Dan Belcher of St. Louis won the first-place prize of $1,750 and the Sculptors Choice prize of $500.

First place

Belcher’s piece was of a woman with flowing hair resting an arm on the world. A ribbon, carved into the sand around the globe, read “Wonder” in German, Russian, Finnish, Arabic and Japanese.

Belcher also won first place at last year’s competition.

Taking second place was Carl Jara of Cleveland, Ohio, for his blossoming flower.

Damon Langlois of Victoria won third place for his piece, a pregnant woman.

Organizers estimate that between 15,000 and 18,000 people attended the three-day festival, with about 4,700 visiting the sand gallery.

The exhibit raised $400 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. Members manned the entrance to the gallery and received half of the proceeds, Reiss said.

The sand gallery was closed at the end of last week after several pieces were vandalized.

The sand, which is glacial sand used specifically for sculpting, will be hauled away and stored by Roger Wheeler of RJ Services in Port Angeles for next summer’s sand sculpture competition, Reiss said.

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