Wednesday, September 4, 2013

U.S. Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Expo 2013

Who is Michela Ciappini? She is an artist/sand sculptor from Italy, sculpting since 2003 and is one of several major international  sculptors here in San Diego California over the Labor Day weekend to compete in  the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge. The event's full title this year is "The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Expo. On my early Labor Day Embarcadero stroll, I walked by the event and was immediately drawn in by a four foot tall pirate woman sand sculpture near its entrance. .            

Labor Day morning was a bit cloudy, but good for early AM exercise and a few feet away from the pirate sculpture were several posters with bios that greeted curious joggers and walkers. Several artists, including Michela were presented on three foot posters with bios and a photo close by. These also captivated my gaze. Wasn't sand sculpting a beach event? Puzzled, I walked towards the nearest official looking person at the sign in desk. As it turns out, she was president of Friends of S.C.P.A. (School of Creative and Performing Arts.)

San Diego has several magnet schools and S.C.P.A. is one that has provided the professional entertainment world with memorable moments. For instance, remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "Total Recall"? There's a scene when Schwarzenegger goes through the space port terminal--shades of security measures to come--when he is examined by an x-ray like machine. The tall, rubenesque female disguise was supplied by a then S.C.P.A. theater teacher and actress Priscilla Allen. As S.C.P.A. Friends president and I continued to talk, she provided a brief history and two names: Gordon and Joyce Summer. A few minutes later, Joyce walked up and graciously answered additional questions.

Joyce and her husband Gordon started the competition over 30 years ago. It was held originally in Imperial Beach for many years until crowd control and security became an issue. Volunteers served faithfully to bring sand sculpting to Imperial Beach. After failed negotiations over series of complex issues and hefty monetary charges, it seemed best for all parties involved to move the event. Sponsors supported the Summers who wanted to bring the sand sculpting challenge downtown. It is a good fit for the new image being created to rejuvenate San Diego's Embarcadero area.

Included in the gaze captivating sculptor bios are: Helena Bangert : Netherlands, sculpting since 2000, Melineige Beauregard:Quebec, Canada, Sculpting since 2001, Sue McGraw : Tacoma Washington, Sculpting since  High School, Fergus Mulvany: Dublin Ireland, Sculpting since 1993, Kirk Rademaker, Stinson Beach, CA. sculpting since 1997,Rusty Croft, Carmel CA., Sculpting since 1997, John Gowdy, Jersey Boy now Netherlands, Sculpting since, 1990,  and Janis Kirits, Netherlands, sculpting since 2006.

Mrs. Summer is a warm and gracious woman. In our informal interview, she noted with gratitude that, "Scott Peters was then a port commissioner and suggested that the event be moved to the Embarcadero. The event has been here for two years."

It was a pleasure to meet her and to talk with her this early Labor Day morning.  The U.S. Sculpting Challenge and 3D Art Expo provides need support to education and arts programs. In an age when we keep asking who will help? Who can make a positive difference in providing productive, life inspiring educational opportunities for our children this difficult toxic political climate? The Summers generous creativity and energy answers with a philanthropic, "We can. We, you and I, can make a positive difference in the quality of education for children---you and I together."

Labor Day Strollin'
Delores Fisher
(For other stories during "early morning strolling"  see STROLLING 2013  )

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