City of San Antonio Arts & Culture/ Facebook

Locals who stan for stanzas — this one's for you. April is National Poetry Month, and the City of San Antonio, along with newly appointed Poet Laureate Nephtali De León, is throwing a huge to-do.

The Academy of American Poets has marked the month for the past 27 years to honor poetry's significant role in America's shared culture. San Antonio joined the fun in 2009 and has since grown the celebration to a packed schedule of more than 40 readings, workshops, performances, and discussions.

"National Poetry Month is a celebration of joy, a rebirth of wonders, written, read, and spoken," explains De León via a release. "It is the passion for language, for sentiments and words that reflect the collective human condition of us all."

The official National Poetry Month kickoff is the ninth annual VIVA Poesía: Palabras, Música, y Cultura at Mission Marquee Plaza. The April 1 event featured performances from present and past poets' laureates, live music, visual arts, and more.

The month then goes into high gear with a dizzying array of events tailored to young and old alike. Highlights include DIY poetry happening Slam the Town, Full Steam Ahead: Painting Inspired Poetry at Briscoe Western Art Museum, and Ekphrastic Celebration with Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson at Blue Star Arts Complex.

On April 10, the City of San Antonio will host the 2023 - 2026 Poet Laureate Investiture Ceremony at City Council Chambers. There will also be Jazz Poetry Week on 91.7FM KRTU from April 10-14, Pen to Paper: Southside Slam Night by San Antonio Poetry Archive at Palo Alto College on April 14, MEGA CORAZON – San Antonio's Online Marathon of Performance Poetry by URBAN-15 from April 17-30, Veteran's Writing at Gemini Ink on April 19, and Voices de la Luna Annual Youth Poetry Contest! at Galeria E.V.A. on April 29. Phew! For a complete list of events, head here.

"In celebrating National Poetry Month, we take time to honor the power of words to heal, inspire and unite us in our shared humanity," said Department of Arts & Culture Executive Director Krystal Jones in a statement. "We are proud to support the vibrant poetry scene in our city and encourage everyone in San Antonio to explore the rich diversity of expression this month and throughout the rest of the year."

Mission Marquee Plaza/ Facebook

San Antonio reels in big names for South Side poetry festival


From Dr. Carmen Tafolla's This River Here to Miss Congeniality, San Antonio has long provided fodder for poets and moviemakers alike. Now, the two art forms are coming together during a spectacular cultural event at the Mission Marquee Plaza.

The City of San Antonio World Heritage Office will once again salute rhythm and rhyme during Viva Poesía: Palabras, Música, y Cultura on April 1, 6-10 pm. The annual bash, made possible in part by the City's Department of Arts and Culture, kicks off National Poetry Month by honoring the artistic influence of local poets.

In honor of the Mission Drive-In's 75th anniversary, this year's theme will be "For Reels! A Poetic Tribute to the Movies." Guests can hear original works from a star-studded lineup, including San Antonio's past Poet Laureates Tafolla, Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson, Jenny Brown, and Dr. Octavio Quintanilla. Local spoken word artists Eddie Vega, Rooster Martinez, Arrie Porter, Isabel Brown, and Ollie McCrary will also perform pieces created especially for the event, celebrating the magic and nostalgia of films.

During the event, Department of Arts and Culture Director, Krystal Jones, will introduce San Antonio's new Poet Laureate, Nephtali De León, to San Antonio's literati. Emceed by Anthony "The Poet" Flores, Viva Poesía will also feature live performances by local comedians, the Wonder Theatre, the San Antonio Philharmonic Brass Ensemble, Como Las Movies, and more.

The family friendly event will also offer engaging activities for the younger set, like make-and-take art activities and interactive workshops led by local artists and poets. Plus, pop-up vendors will serve grub and drinks throughout the evening.

The event is free and open to the public, with free on-site parking. More info about Mission Marquee Plaza and its jam-packed 2023 season can be found online.

"Vast artistry, rich culture, and vibrant traditions make San Antonio a city filled with diverse creativity," said District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran via a release." The entire family is invited to experience the sights, sounds, and festivities of Viva Poesía…."

Courtesy of Academy of American Poets

2 Texans honored with prestigious national poetry awards

The Write Stuff

Two Texans have received one of the highest honors a writer can achieve. Austin resident Cyrus Cassells has been named the 2022 Poet Laureate Fellow for Texas, while Houston's Outspoken Bean has been named the 2022 official Poet Laureate Fellow for Houston.

Both will receive $50,000 for the honor, as part of the $1.1 million worth of funding from the Academy awarded to 22 national fellows to support their respective public poetry programs during their year-long term.

Cassells is a tenured professor at Texas State University, and has received multiple awards for his work, including a Pushcart Prize, the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim, the Lannan Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

He plans to hold a statewide poetry contest in honor of Juneteenth, inviting students in the 6th through 12th grades across Texas to submit entries describing what makes the day significant to them.

Ten winners will be selected; they'll receive a travel stipend to the state capital, where the contest will end with a public reading and ceremony at the Neill-Cochran House Museum. The space features Austin's only intact slave cabin and has long served as a venue for African American events and cultural exhibitions.

Judges for the contest include Texas poets Wendy Barker, Jennifer Chang, Amanda Johnston, and Roger Reeves, and Texas historian Martha Hartzog, according to the academy. The contest screeners and judges, along with the top three winners and seven honorable mentions will receive an honorarium, plus copies of Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Reed's book On Juneteenth and Edward Cotham Jr.'s Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration.

Meanwhile over in Bayou City, Emanuelee Outspoken Bean is an acclaimed spoken word artist who was the first poet to perform on the Houston Ballet stage in the company's production of the popular Play. He also conceptualized and produced Plus Fest: The Everything Plus Poetry Festival. He most recently took the stage for Loveletter, the multi-disciplinary concert hosted and produced by local legend DJ Sun.

During his term as Poet Laureate Fellow, he will complete Space City Mixtape, a spoken-word and creative audio experience of Houston featuring more than 20 tracks from Houstonians telling their stories, the academy notes. Houstonians should look for him at Houston Public Library locations around Houston, as he intends to conduct bi-weekly writing sessions for the next six to eight months in order to capture stories for Space City Mixtape, which will be produced by local producer Russell Guess. Space City Mixtape is slated to be released next year.

Public Poets Laureate have been around since 1919, when the state of Colorado named the first. Fifteen other states named laureates of their own soon after. On the national level, the Library of Congress named Joseph Auslander its first Consultant in Poetry in 1937. This position was renamed the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 1985.

Ada Limón is the current Poet Laureate Consultation in Poetry and was named to the position last month.

Poets Laureate at every level promote and advocate for poetry, working to not only bring attention to the art form, but also using their platform to bring attention to issues of importance in their communities. The Academy of American Poets is the largest supporter of poets around the U.S. and has donated more than $4.3 million in fellowships to 81 poets since 2019.

The other poets and the communities they represent are Andru Defeye (Sacramento, California); Ashanti Files (Urbana, Illinois); B. K. Fischer (Westchester County, New York); KaNikki Jakarta (Alexandria, Virginia); Ashley M. Jones (Alabama); Holly Karapetkova (Arlington, Virginia); Kealoha (Hawaiʻi); J. Drew Lanham (Edgefield, South Carolina); Julia B. Levine (Davis, California); Matt Mason (Nebraska); Airea D. Matthews (Philadelphia); Ray McNiece (Cleveland Heights, Ohio); Huascar Medina (Kansas); Gailmarie Pahmeier (Nevada); Catherine Pierce (Mississippi); Rena Priest (Washington); Lynne Thompson (Los Angeles); Emma Trelles (Santa Barbara, California); Gwen Nell Westerman (Minnesota); and Crystal Wilkinson (Kentucky).

Beloved San Antonio Book Festival reveals star lineup for 2022 event

Book Worms Rejoice

After being canceled in 2020 and going virtual in 2021 due to the pandemic, the San Antonio Book Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary with in-person programming on Saturday, May 21. The free annual festival brings together a wide variety of authors from across Texas and the nation, and this year’s lineup includes renowned authors like Jericho Brown, Julia Glass, Margo Jefferson, Natalie Diaz, Emma Straub, and more.

Held at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art, the full-day event kicks off at 9:30 am with an opening ceremony featuring remarks by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and special performances by poets Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and Naomi Shihab Nye.

“For our 10th anniversary, we could not be more thrilled to return to being in person at the Library, which has recently been restored to its glorious ‘enchilada red’ hue,” says the festival executive director, Lilly Gonzalez, in a release. “Book festivals foster a sense of community and inspire people to think beyond their individual experiences. Reading is a solitary act, and for the past two years, Texas readers have been plunged deeper into isolation, with books serving as a vital gateway to connecting with the world. It feels extra special to be able to come together for this milestone year.”

In addition to in-person events, the festival will also include an all-virtual tent with pre-recorded sessions from authors like Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson, poets David Hassler and Tyler Meier, and journalist Joshua Prager.

Texas authors abound in this year’s lineup, including Fernando A. Flores, whose book Valleyesque captures the spirit of the Texas-Mexico border. Austin-based novelists Sarah Bird and Stephen Harrigan will both be in attendance: Bird’s sweeping new novel, Last Dance on the Starlight Pier, brings 1930s Galveston to life while Harrigan’s latest, The Leopard is Loose, captures a young boy’s struggle to find his place in his family and country while growing up in 1950s America. Closer to home, the 2022 lineup features several familiar San Antonio faces such as former Mayor of San Antonio Phil Hardberger, newcomer suspense novelist Katie Gutierrez, and Judge Nelson Wolff.

The family-friendly event will also feature children’s book authors, including local writers such as Cariño Cortez, chef of La Familia Cortez Restaurants, whose book, Camila La Magica Makes Tamales, tells the story behind her family's tamale-making tradition. Fellow San Antonian Stephen Briseño will promote his book, The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness From the Border, an inspiring story about a mother and daughter waiting to cross the United States border.

For more information about the San Antonio Book Festival and a full lineup of authors, head to sabookfestival.org. A detailed festival schedule will be available in April.

Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons

Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival lights up San Antonio with radiant new vibe

in a good light

The lights are coming back on again for 2021’s Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival. After 2019’s 25,000-person draw and 2020’s cancellation, this year’s walk-through represents an opportunity for a forceful return from the dark.

Artists from the skipped year are rolling over the works they created in a simultaneously quiet and tumultuous year, with other, more recent works also on display November 13.

“I think the energy that the artists have brought, and their excitement is going to really feel different than previous festivals,” says executive director Yadhira Lozano, who was appointed in 2020 and will experience this year’s festival as her first in the role.

The new director is especially looking forward to the large installations that light up the night, including one projection across a giant screen on a 26-foot stage.

A few things have changed for the nonprofit since its last festival. It still offers a unique spread of art across the spectrum, from visual, to audio, to movement, and even literature. The way audiences will connect with those works is evolving. Luminaria used its pandemic-forced time inside and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts to launch an inquiry into public perception of the festival.

Since its inception in 2008 by former Mayor Phil Hardberger, the event has been free for attendees and completely driven by public interest, connecting San Antonians to the arts within the city. This time, a consultant helped the organization search for areas of improvement.

Strategic planning among artists revealed a desire for more local support and finding diversity at home instead of seeking it elsewhere. Ideas tumbled together and Luminaria is considering an artist exchange program that continues its global connections of past years while ensuring that San Antonio artists are benefiting equally.

One consensus was clear among attendees: The festival had to be an in-person event. People are tired of livestreams. Logistically, there were reports that some artists’ works had been hard to find at past events, so the festival has done away with its more conceptual programs and adopted straightforward maps. With only one path through the completely outdoor installments (another two new additions for 2021), it will be hard to miss any artist’s work.

Luminaria presented another influential finding in a paper published by the National Review of the Arts: During the pandemic, families have stuck together more than ever when going out. Instead of opening the familial “pod” to friend groups and babysitters, families are keeping their distance as independent units.

Most importantly, Luminaria learned that attendees were intrigued by art they hadn’t been interested in before, proving that the festival is doing its job. The starting point is furtive glances at weird displays, and each artist’s presence offers a portal to better insight for those willing to ask questions.

Lozano is paying attention to what’s important to both artists and audiences, hoping it will unite the entire arts scene in San Antonio. What they want is very attainable.

“People moved here from other places because they just like it here, is what they’ve been telling me,” says Lozano. “It’s no groundbreaking, inspirational quote, but it works for me.”

Tourism and military, Lozano points out, are the city’s most profitable industries, with the latter supporting the former when families come to visit. She hopes audiences will follow the artists at the festival on social media, and keep up with their work past the one-night celebration.

Particularly in 2020, Lozano’s goal is to show audiences that artists are essential workers that need support. The art scene is a nearly inexhaustible fountain of what makes San Antonio so likable. It’s a core belief that will secure funds for arts nonprofits to keep diversifying and bring communities together for what they ask for. One thing they’re asking for, revealed the outreach, is more nights of Luminaria.

“What do we turn to in the pandemic when we’re sitting on our butts at home? We’re reading books, we’re watching Netflix, we’re listening to music,” says Lozano. “Take [entertainment] away, and then what? It’s just you and your imagination. And then you become the artist. It’s part of our life force.”

Every year, the Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival is free for all, and does not require an RSVP. The path snakes through Hemisfair, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the San Antonio River Walk on November 13 from 6 pm to midnight.

Story Time at Hemisfair returns with new chapter of in-park programming

Book it!

San Antonio parents, take note: After 16 long months of offering only virtual programming, Hemisfair is bringing back its free weekly Story Time events for kids at Yanaguana Garden, and is welcoming a special partnership with a local nonprofit that shares a knack for storytelling.

The in-person Story Time series with the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum kicked off Tuesday, October 5, and will take place at Hemisfair each first Tuesday of the month through May 2022.

The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum works to collect, preserve, and share the African American cultural heritage of the San Antonio region through a variety of exhibits and programming.

Hemisfair notes the partnership further highlights its commitment to creating experiences that embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for all San Antonio residents and visitors.

“What a great opportunity to engage children with stories and conversations illustrating that we all have a place here, this is our collective community, and because someone does not look like me does not mean I should be afraid or treat them differently,” says Deborah Omowale Jarmon, CEO and director of SAAACAM, via a release. “The opportunity for children of all ages, backgrounds, and areas of town to come together at Hemisfair, where they’ll interact and learn these lessons with each other, promotes understanding through fun engagement.”

The monthly Story Time program is the first of several collaborations that are in the works for the two organizations. SAAACAM will host nearly all its outdoor events at Hemisfair in 2022 to give local families more opportunities to explore San Antonio’s African American culture.

In addition to the in-person, in-park experience, Story Time with SAAACAM will be recorded and broadcast the second Saturday of each month on the museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The sessions will also be available through SAAACAM’s Conscious Curriculum webpage and archived at the Digital Library Special Collections at Texas A&M University–San Antonio.

“Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair is unique in that, on any given day, you see children and families of all backgrounds interacting with each other and enjoying play time,” Andres Andujar, CEO of Hemisfair, says. “This Story Time series with SAAACAM will further encourage exploration and learning about the history and culture of San Antonio’s Black and African American communities while reaching more residents who may not know that Hemisfair belongs to them.”

Though Hemisfair’s Story Time is free to attend, registration is encouraged.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Little West Side gem" sparkles with summer grand opening


Some bar owners talk about community, but the all-woman trio behind new Prospect Hill spot Chiflada’s mean it. The team says the concept, celebrating its grand opening on June 2, wouldn’t have happened without it.

Family and friends turned out to support the bar months before it was ready for the build-out. They turned out again to help transform a vacant bungalow at 1804 West Martin St. into a comfortable and stylish lounge. When the ice machine went on the fritz during the June 27 soft opening, the bar’s supporters flexed their muscles to ensure the drinks remained cold.

Even the West Side neighborhood gave it a seal of approval. Natasha Riffle, who co-owns Chifladla’s with her mother, policewoman Veronica Riffle, and El Buho owner Melanie Martinez, says the team walked door to door to change the zoning, ensuring residential buy-in.

The result is a bar that is by and for the neighborhood. At the soft opening party, Marigolds swayed in the breeze under a pergola as congratulatory bouquets filled the bar’s shelves. Guests busily chattered as popular deejay Sunnyboy played oldies and conjunto hits.

“It feels like you’re at your abuelita’s backyard and hanging with your family,” Natasha Riffle says of the bar’s vibe.

The drinks honor that spirit, too, toeing the line between the neighborhood’s blue-collar roots and the team’s cocktail-making skills. Featured sippers include a punchy Mexican Martini, a melon Paloma, the Chif Peach, and the mezcal-based Smoke on the Water.
“It’s a place to get a nice cocktail, but also a place to get a beer and shot combo,” Natasha Riffle tells CultureMap about the high-low mix.

Ultimately, Chiflada’s feels like home — the type of place folks let loose after a long day at work, where multiple generations can get in on the party and where bartenders become close friends.

“We all lived [on the West Side] off and on,” says Riffle of the team, “and we’ve all worked with each other over the years. We are more of a family than we are co-workers — 100 percent.”

Chiflada's San Antonio

Photo by Joe Rodriquez

Natasha Riffle beams in front of her newly opened bar.

Contemporary Irish pub sprouts up in new St. Paul's Square home


One of San Antonio’s most storied bars is gearing up for its next chapter. After a brief hiatus, Southtown hot spot Francis Bogside has reopened in St. Paul Square, along with a sister concept — Anne’s.

The bar first opened in 2015 in conjunction with the fine dining eatery Brigid. The pair had barely been in business for a year before an early morning fire ravaged their shared space in 2016. In 2017, the bar reopened on South St. Mary’s Street sans Brigid, becoming one of Alamo City’s favorite haunts.

In July 2022, owner Steve Mahoney announced another change. Francis Bogside was moving out of its longtime home and into a new location. Eventually, internet sleuths figured out that spot would be 1170 E Commerce St #100 in St. Paul’s Square, the former home of Smoke BBQ.

Though in a new location, the basic DNA of the bar is still intact, with a similar layout featuring a large central bar and a jumble of artwork on the walls. The space, however, is a more contemporary interpretation of an Irish pub with a bold mix of upholstery, up-to-date wallcoverings, and mosaic tiles, all enlivening the mostly brick space.

Though Bogside’s signature cocktails have often strayed from theme, a release promised a return to form with sippers like Paddy’s Irish whiskey-based Irish Maid and low ABV Jammy Lass. As usual, the specialty drinks will be supplemented by various classics, including daiquiris and negronis.

Currently, the bar has a limited food menu of pub grub, like focaccia pizza, wings, and loaded potato skins. A more fully developed menu will be rolled out as it prepares for a grand opening later in June.

The media alert did not offer many details about Anne’s, a wine bar now open in the adjoining space, but did tease at an international bottle list. The concept will also have a dedicated food menu, although no details were shared.

Currently in its soft opening phase, Francis Bogside welcomes guests 4 pm-2 am Tuesday through Sunday. Anne’s operates Wednesday through Sunday with the same opening hours.

Francis Bogside San Antonio

Photo by TXTroublemaker

A large central bar is the focal point.

5 tips to build stunning sand sculptures from 2023 Texas SandFest winners

Fun at the beach

As summer fast approaches, sandy vacations to coastal destinations are on the horizon for many travelers. For those with kids in tow, sandcastle-making might top the list of beach trip must-dos.

But “playing” in the sand isn’t just an activity for children, as proven by the 22 professional sand sculptors from around the world who recently competed in the 26th annual Texas SandFest, held in Port Aransas in April. The internationally recognized event, started by Port A locals in 1997, is the largest native-sand sculptor competition in the nation; nearly 70,000 people attended this year.

Competition entries featured everything from mermaids to the Grim Reaper, all intricately carved, brushed, and chiseled from sand, ocean water, and perhaps a little diluted spray glue that sculptors say helps maintain detail. The competitors work on their masterpieces during the event, allowing spectators to witness their progress from start to finish.

“I do around five international sand sculpting competitions per year. It’s always a great challenge to compete a high level,” says Benoit Dutherage, a competitive sculptor from France who also creates snow sculptures in the French Alps during the winter.

Dutherage took first place in the Duo Masters category, along with his sand sculpting partner Sue McGrew, for their work called “Wish You Were Here.” Comprised of two loving faces (one mystically cut in half), the sculpture was a tribute to Pink Floyd.

“We like to reflect human emotions in our sculptures,” he says. “It is never easy to pick an idea among the thousands of ideas we have.”

Florida resident Thomas Koet, whose sculpture called “The Prospector” won first place in the People’s Choice category, intended to create something with horses and a cowboy as an homage to Mustang Island, where the competition took place. High tides just before the event thwarted his plans.

“The high tide washed away so much of the sand, I had only enough left for a mule or a foal,” he says. “So I decided to make an old prospector with a mule.”

Thinking out of the box when it comes to carving sand is just one of several suggestions Koet has for recreational sand sculptors. (“Who says it has to be a castle?” he says.) He and other winners from the 2023 Texas SandFest say they are always happy to see novices get creative.

Here are five of the pros' top tips for producing a beachfront masterpiece.

1. Think beyond the standard sandcastle
“Design and sculpt outside of your comfort zone,” says Abe Waterman, a sculptor from Prince Edward Island, Canada, who took first place in the Solo Masters division with his sculpture, “Sleeps with Angels.” The mega sculpture featured four angels at four corners holding a blanket carrying a sleeping woman. “While this may not lead to the best sculpture results, one will improve faster by doing this.”

Waterman noted that there are different types of sand depending on location. Some are better suited for detailed work while others work well for verticality. “But something can always be sculpted regardless of the sand quality, the design just may need to be altered,” he says.

Koet recommends picking something that will fit your attention span. “You can make anything you want,” he says. “You can make a cat, a shark, a monster truck, your high school mascot, a sneaker, or a shark eating an ice cream cone.”

2. Use the right tools
Forgo the cheap tourist shop plastic bucket and shovel set. “You definitely need proper tools to get a good result: A solid shovel, a few trowels – not too big – and a wall painting brush to clean your sculpture,” says Dutherage. “You’ll also need buckets.”

Think big painter’s buckets, he says, used to make what’s essentially “sand mud” consisting of lots of water and sand. Which leads to the next tip ...

3. Create a form mold
Consider this the secret to head-turning sand sculptures. Whether it’s a 10-foot-tall wooden box with sides that come off, or a plastic bucket with the bottom cut out, a “form mold” is an open-top vessel used to hold packed sand and water to create a carve-able structure.

“It’s a very useful thing to have in order to get a solid block, and to go high,” says Dutherage. “If you are a handyman, you can build your own forms. But a quick solution is to take a bucket, no matter what size, and cut out the bottom. Then put that bucket upside down on the sand. Add a few inches of sand, some water, mix with your trowel and compact that layer. Repeat until the bucket is full. Then gently pull the bucket up and surprise! You will get a nice block of sand ready for a sandcastle full of windows, arches, and gates.”

The compacted layers of sand and water almost act as cement, creating a sturdy base for carving. Dutherage says folks can easily repeat the form mold process to create multiple bases, either side by side or stacked.

4. Use plenty of water, for the sculpture and yourself
Benoit recommends adding even more water during the sculpting process.

“Bring a plant sprayer,” he says. “Sand needs to be wet to be sculptable.”

Even rain during sand sculpture building isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that rain will destroy a sand sculpture,” says Waterman. “While this is possible, most often it just textures the surface.”

Water is also essential for the sculptor, as staying hydrated is key during the process, Waterman adds.

Texas SandFest

Texas SandFest

"The Prospector" took first place in the 2023 Texas SandFest People's Choice category

5. Practice, Practice, Practice
“The biggest misconception is that I do anything different than anybody who does it only for the first time,” says Koet, who’s been sculpting sand for 25 years. “Sure, I bring more and bigger tools and I spend much more time shoveling the sand high and mixing it with water. But there is no magic other than years of practice.”

Waterman, who admits sand sculpting has taken over his life, competes in up to 10 contests a year and also creates sculptures for exhibits and corporate commissions.

“Tricks and tips will only get a person so far,” he says. “But ultimately practice and putting the time in will get them a whole lot further.”

Benoit agrees. “Making a sand sculpture requires a lot of work and the more you practice, the better you will get,” he says. “But first of all, you have to enjoy the fun of it.”