Event

Sand Arts Festival, Tybee Island

Spend a day at the beach at annual SCAD Sand Arts Festival

Tybee Island, GA

Tybee Island, North Beach

30 Meddin Drive


SCAD Sand Arts Festival: it’s one for the bucket list. Spend the day on Tybee Island’s picturesque North Beach and watch in awe as elaborate creations rise from the sand. Enjoy the picture-perfect setting and cheer on your favorite SCAD artists. Just make sure to get there before the tide comes in!

Presented by the School of Foundation Studies, School of Fine Arts and the sculpture minor program, SCAD Sand Arts Festival features competitions for sand castle, sand sculpture, sand relief and wind sculpture. Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary also sponsors an Underwater Sea Creature Award for the best creation from the deep, real or imagined. Several specialty awards — SCAD Spirit, SCAD Castles and an Alumni Choice — have been added to the lineup, too!

This year, the judge for the four main categories will be Ted Siebert, Sand Sculpture Company owner and lead sculptor. An artist by background and training, Siebert has helped set seven Guinness World Records as co-captain of a competitive sand-sculpting team, and holds World, U.S. and Canadian championship titles.

Rain date: Friday, May 8.

The public is invited to enjoy the Sand Arts Festival, but the competition is limited to high school students who pre-register for the event, as well as SCAD students, alumni, staff and faculty.

See details on how to register

For more information, email Matt Toole.

The competition is open to SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff, who may compete individually or in teams of up to four members, and for high school students, who may also compete in teams of up to four members.

  • Registration will take place on-site for SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff. Participating high school students must pre-register for the event.
  • Entries in the sand castle, sculpture and sand relief contests must contain only sand and natural objects found on the beach, such as shells, driftwood and seaweed.
  • Contestants may not walk in the sand dunes or disturb the sea grass.
  • Applying color or binding agents other than water is not permitted.
  • Contestants may begin working at any time.
  • Contestants who begin sculpting before 10 a.m. should view the festival map to ensure that projects are in the correct contest area.
  • Low tide is at 1 p.m. and high tide occurs at 6 p.m. Sculptors should consider an appropriate distance from the water to avoid washout before judging.

What to bring

  • Picnic lunch
  • Drinking water
  • Sunscreen
  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Carving tools (putty knife, trowel, spoon, etc.)
  • Cheap paint brush

SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff may compete in any of the four categories below. High school participants will compete against each other in either the sand castle or sand sculpture categories.

Sand castle

  • Sculpt large-scale works resembling castle architecture.
  • Works will be judged for creativity of design, quality of craft and excellence of detail.

Sand sculpture

  • Create large-scale works at least 3 feet tall.
  • Works should be sculpted fully in the round.
  • Attention should focus on creativity of concept and design as well as excellence of craft and detail.
  • Works may be representational, abstract or nonrepresentational.

Sand relief

  • Relief is a hybrid between drawing and sculpture.
  • These 3-D works have less height than a sand sculpture — less than 3-feet tall.
  • Relief entries may be carved into the beach, modeled on top or both.
  • Jurors will look for large-scale works containing low relief, high relief or both.
  • Attention should focus on creativity of concept and design as well as excellence of craft and detail.
  • Works may be representational, abstract or nonrepresentational.

Wind sculpture

  • Wind sculptures are 3-D forms that engage the wind.
  • Entries may be handheld, such as kites, or freestanding structures.
  • Jurors will look for sculptures with a high degree of wind interaction, structural strength, creativity of design, and excellence of craft and detail.
  • The contest is open to any media, scale and forming technique.
  • Entries may be representational, abstract or nonrepresentational.

Gray's Reef Best Underwater Creature Award

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is sponsoring first-, second- and third-place awards for "Best Underwater Creature" (actual or fantasy) created within any of the above categories. Awards are presented by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation through Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

Specialty awards

  • SCAD Spirit Award: One winner chosen from any category that includes SCAD-based imagery.
  • SCAD Castles: One winner chosen from the sand castle category that includes any SCAD architecture as a main theme.
  • Alumni Choice: One winner, chosen by a SCAD alumni, from any category

SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff registration

All participating SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff members should register on-site beginning at 10 a.m., Friday, May 1. Compete individually or in teams of up to four members. Team designations can be made during registration.

High school student registration

High school students are invited to experience SCAD’s creative environment by entering the festival’s High School Competition.

All high school students must register in advance. High School Competition participants should meet up at Poetter Hall at 10 a.m., Friday, May 1, for check-in and transportation to Tybee Island’s North Beach. Shuttles will return to Poetter Hall at 4 p.m. All participants will receive a boxed lunch.

High school student registration opens April 1. Check out the contest rules and start planning your masterpiece!

For more information, call 912.525.5928.

High school student participants

High school students should meet before the event at Poetter Hall at 10 a.m., Friday, May 1, for check-in and transportation to Tybee Island’s North Beach. Shuttles will return to Poetter Hall at 4 p.m.

SCAD participants and visiting spectators

Driving directions

  • Follow Highway 80 to Tybee Island.
  • Turn left at the first stoplight onto Campbell Street.
  • At the end of Campbell Street, turn left onto Van Horn Street.
  • Take the first right onto Meddin Drive. Continue on Meddin Drive to Fort Screven.
  • Just before Fort Screven, turn right onto the dirt road leading to the beach parking lot.
  • Overflow parking is available at the new police department at the corner of Fort Avenue. and Van Horne Street.  Additional overflow parking will be at the Jaycee Park off Van Horne Street. See parking map for details.
  • Follow the center boardwalk, directly across from the North Beach Grill, to the registration tables.

Contestant parking

Just before you reach Fort Screven, turn right onto the dirt road leading to the beach parking lot. Limited free parking permits will be issued during registration (one permit per team) and are only valid in the large, unpaved parking lot behind Fort Screven.

Students are highly encouraged to use free SCAD buses and to carpool due to limited parking on Tybee Island.

Visitor parking

Visitors may use inexpensive metered parking in front of the Tybee Museum and two blocks away at the police station. Side street parking is not allowed.