Canadian sculptor Melineige Beauregard dug deep inside herself to capture the singles title in America's first All-Women Master Sand Sculpting Championship at Sand Bash on Sunday behind the Holiday Inn on Fort Myers Beach.
Beauregard's art titled, "Reveal Your Inner Child," was the judge's favorite among the 10 sculptures at the event, a creative process that began with a near washout on Friday and totaled 24 hours of carving after seven hours of sand buildup. Edith Van de Wetering of the Netherlands placed second with "The Best Way To Cheer Yourself Up Is To Cheer Someone Else Up," and Kali Bradford of Sequim, Washington took third with "Love Me, Love Me Not." Van de Wetering's art also netted the Sculptor's Choice award.
For the Quebec resident, inspiration for the sculpture came from a simple idea. The win gained her the Blanche E. Swope Gold Cup, named for the grandmother of Co-Event Producer Marianne Knight, who was a breast cancer survivor before passing from an unrelated illness.
Melineige Beauregard took top honors among 10 sculptors at America’s first All-Women Master Sand Sculpting Championship at Sand Bash.
"I believe we all have a child inside ourselves," Beauregard said. "When you reveal it, you will be more happy and beautiful."
Beauregard, who is also an accomplished ice and snow sculptor and is involved in ice sculpting Saturday evening, believes sand sculpting is a spiritual experience. She is the daughter of renowned sculptor Guy Beauregard. The two teamed up to win the World Championship in doubles in 2004.
"An artist is one who spiritualizes matter," she wrote in her bio. "For me, art is a means of communication, a way to transmit the energy of life, to affirm its vastness and its beauty."
Sand Bash continues to entertain until Sunday, April 14. During the week, the top women's sculptors will be involved in chainsaw art, quicksand speed sculpting competitions, demonstrations, lessons, ice sculpting and the doubles division championship, which will pit two-woman teams competing for the title. Completion and judging will take place Sunday. The People's Choice award for the singles division will be announced that day as well.
Thanks were given to the local volunteers, including members of the Kiwanis Club, Teen Challenge and Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Southwest Florida, the event sponsor. Proceeds are going to those groups.
"Ninety-five percent of whatever (Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Southwest Florida) takes in stays local," said Co-Event Producer Bill Knight of The Sand Lovers, LLC.
The continuing event, which features a fenced-in area for the sculptures, kid's activity area and food and drink stands for a $5 fee, also has a vendor village near the entrance while supporting breast cancer awareness. Five of the competing women hail from the U.S. while two came from the Netherlands and one each from Australia, Latvia and Canada.