The European Sand Sculpting Championship
This year the event features a 'free theme' sand sculpture competition for solo masters, and an exhibition for doubles and team.
It is an invitational event that is technically open to artists from any nation worldwide. This year however, the Solo competition is limited to eleven Europeans and one artist from Asia.
Additionally, the exhibition (non competitive) aspects of the show also feature all twelve of these artists, plus four more masters from North America. For a total of 16 artists carving sand in the overall festival this year.
The solo artists are allowed to custom design their own original works, including the pre formed blocks of compacted sand ( 'Poundups' ) from which they will carve the sculpture.
These machine compacted blocks of sand called 'poundups' Are prepared to each artist's specifications in advance of the artists arrival.
The artists are assisted by 12 art students from the Academy of Art in Venice, who receive course study of sand sculpting technique, compete in their own contest and earn college credit in exchange for their labors.
There is a mandatory minimum of 40 contest hours, just for carving.
Also featured at the JISSF, are the student helpers from the Academy of Art in Venice, who assist the masters in exchange for college credit.
The student helpers will also be competing in an annual Amateur Solo Division of the European Championship.
Some years there is also a family division, in another open amateur contest later in the festival schedule, but that as yet, has not been determined for this current year edition of the overall festival.
Since the inception of the overall sand festival each summer, combined with the sister show 'The Sand Nativity' which is produced each winter, the City of Jesolo has donated over a half million euros to various charities.
Additionally, all the 16 masters participating in the Jesolo International Sand Sculpture Festival (JISSF) this year also do other works creating exhibition sculptures for two different themes.
"The Four Seasons of Life" and "Air Show"
For this aspect the group works in a duo format as well as team of four persons. But this aspect (for this year) is in a noncompetitive 'exhibition only' format.
The championship will take place within a 2500 sq m village on the beach of Piazza Brescia, on the Jesolo Lido.
The Jesolo International Sand Sculpture Festival overall, will also be enriched with:
HistorySince the late 1990's the Jesolo International Sand Sculpture Festival (then known as Castelli di Mare) has enjoyed many years of continuous growth and development.
During the mid to late 1990's the mayor of the Adriatic coastal city of Jesolo, in Venice county, Renato Martin tasked his tourism department to come up with something fun and unique that they could put the city name on, and bring to the Jesolo lido area. Something that could be a touristic draw to spur commerce & create good will, but also to ideally become something of an icon that would both put Jesolo "on the map" and be something of which the local community could also be very proud of.
At that time man who is now the current mayor of Jesolo, Francesco Calzavara was the director of the Jesolo city tourism department. He had seen a sand sculpture display featured in a magazine article, and he thought that maybe a nice annual sand sculpture festival would suit this worthy plan. He recognized that as such, it could have all the components of fun, outdoor (beach) activity, and a broad based demographic appeal. (who doesn't like sand sculpture?)
Martin (The mayor) agreed with Calzavara (the tourism director) and so they appointed one of the mayors secretaries, Dr. Massimo Ambrosin to find some people to have a small startup sand sculpting event with. It was he who found the esteemed Lucinda (Sandy Feet) Wirenga of S. Padre Island Texas, via the internet and asked her to come to Jesolo and hire three others, too. She invited Sylvia Von Bauskum of the Netherlands, Leonardo Ugolini of Italy, and yours truly (Rich Varano) also of the USA.
The first year in operation was a complete experiment for the Italians. They hosted the event at a lovely city-owned beach property and brought out stadium seating for audience viewing the progress of the four masters who would be competing in a small contest on four pre piled mounds of sand under gazebo style tents during a weekend in the summer.
There was rudimentary planning and support, and the contest was deemed a success. As the carvers predicted, the stadium seating proved to be rather unnecessary though. (sand sculpture, not being a contact sport, nor one that is involving car crashes, -it is a bit more of a 'casual stroll' spectator sport) I won the event that year, and the following year the organizers contacted me about directing the event and consulting with them to develop it over time, to become bigger and better as the years went by. Naturally, I contacted Sandy and informed her of this before accepting the gig. At that time, she said she understood, & gave me her blessings. And the rest is, as they say, history.
From the earliest days, the event has ranged to include exhibitions and competitions for pros and amateurs, and in all manner of forrmats. In the early years we developed a "Grand Masters" event that pitted only competitors who had won other major sand sculpting shows, against each other.
There have been lessons/ workshops/ demos and myriad ancillary activities for other entertainment. Including stages for live music / theater productions, film displays, photo opportunities and photographic exhibitions of sand sculpture and other subjects. This year will feature a "tropical village" with cafe/bar, comfortable seating, decorative plants and award winning landscaping that always features some sort of water element. This year, it is a fountain.
Over the years the festival- with it's sister event in the winter 'The Sand Nativity' has donated over a half a million euros to various charities.
Thanks to the tireless dedication of the Jesolo Patrimonio, City planners, the Mayors Office and the fine folks of the City of Jesolo who support this fine event, the JISSF has been recognized for years by sand industry insiders as a jewel in the crown of the modern professional sand sculpture tour of events.
This year I am delighted to announce that European Sand Sculpting Championships being hosted and sponsored by the City of Jesolo are a qualifier event for the World Sand Sculpting Championships which will be held in Florida, next November.
The European Sand Sculpting Championships are produced and directed by:
Varano Sand Sculpture Company LLC.
Sultans Of Sand Worldwide
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