Peter Vogelaar is pictured during the Sandsation 2011 event

Peter Vogelaar is pictured during the Sandsation 2011 event

Harnessing the sands of… Art

Talented trio to demonstrate sand sculpting in Castlegar

The rapid rise of Castlegar’s SculptureWalk has been well documented, and deservedly so. The program, in just its third year has shown exponential growth and its future could not look brighter.

“Sandsations” is a popular sidebar to the annual SculptureWalk and this year’s effort goes from Thursday to Sunday, July 19-22 outside the Pioneer Arena at 925 Columbia Avenue.

Three West Kootenay artists are featured, all with more than enough talent to share. Peter Vogelaar (Winlaw), and Nelson-based sculptors Denis Kleine and John McKinnon will be the attractions this time around and you’re welcome to stop by and see how it’s done.

“We are so lucky to have the world-class talent of John, Peter and Denis right on our doorstep” says SculptureWalk Executive Director Joy Barrett. “It’s going to be an exciting process to see these creatures being formed, quite literally from the ground up!”

The creatures Joy mentions are Mythical Creatures – this year’s Sandsations theme. They’ve certainly come up with a fascinating, wide-open category for the 2012 effort.

Joy explained on July 13 that the first day will be the installing of the sand in the forms, then the carving will start and continue until completion on the Sunday.

“This event is a huge hit with families,” said Barrett, “as they watch the process of sculpting from an up-close perspective, with the kids learning some tips for their own sand creations!”

Vogelaar, who took part in last year’s sand sculpting showcase, has something in mind although the name of it escaped him during a July 13 conversation. He did reveal it’s a monster from Norse mythology.

“I’ve got to work out a plan that works within how we stack the sand,” he said.

The Winlaw resident says it’s been ten years since he first sculpted sand, 20 since he first sculpted snow. “A friend said I should try sand so I went to work with her at Harrison Hotsprings,” the artist recalled.

“Then I kind of got the bug. The following year I got invited to a contest in Ottawa, the highlight was a free train trip home because Via Rail was the sponsor. That’s when I teamed up with my teammate David Ducharme. That September we actually won the world championship which was a real surprise for us, and everybody else, I think.”

Take a look at Peter’s work and you’ll likely agree with the judges in terms of his skill. Denis and John are sure to make a strong showing as well.

Sandsations – beneficiary of funding from a number of sources including TECK Corporation – Thursday to Sunday at Pioneer Arena, then the works will remain on display until time, drying and erosion do their inevitable work.

For further details, check out