Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Carving the Sandcastle Days Budget

Well, nobody asked my opinion on this subject, but I am happy to give it nonetheless.

The event has continued to evolve since the SoB’s were summarily ejected from its planning meetings, and that is as it should be. I like that it is becoming less of a contest and more of an exhibition and would like to see it trend even more that way. How about letting sculptors choose their own hours to work? Some prefer to work early early morning or evening hours instead of the heat of the day. I don’t think you would see any loss of quality in the final products and might even see better sculptures as a result of giving the artists a chance to create on their own timetables. Spreading out the works hours would have the additional benefit of spreading out the crowds more evenly, helping to alleviate parking and other crowd issues.

Carl Phillip’s article about the proposed budget cuts was a bit vague but implies that the biggest cuts could be made to the “Sandsculptors of the Future” program, which makes sense to me. As one of several island sand sculptors who offer lessons year round, I can’t help but resent the town’s funding my competitor’s offering of free lessons the whole week of the event. Furthermore, the format of the lessons - building on top of big trash barrels - does not translate back into better beach experiences for the students (how many people carry big trash barrels with them to the beach?) The town could get a bigger bang for less money with an experienced instructor sitting down by the water and showing folks how to create structures with the items they already commonly bring with them to the beach. Better yet, require each of the competing masters to conduct an hour-long workshop - open to the public - on certain aspects of sandsculpture that would expose interested folks to lots of different sandsculpting techniques. A program like this would definitely make SPI’s event stand out in an increasingly-crowded field.

I believe it is possible to reduce the budget for this event and still put on an amazing show -- Amazin’ and I did it for years on a shoestring. I am not suggesting we should go back to those days, but I do have lots of ideas on how to do more with less and would be happy to share them with the Sandcastle Days Board if they are interested in drawing upon my two decades of experience in competing in world-class sand sculpture events.

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Blogger Sam said...

I was wondering why you were so quiet there, Sandy Feet!

Anyway, I've been getting a lot of calls and emails about Sand Castle Days ands frankly, don't know dookie about what's happening this year other than what I read in the funny papers.

LOL, I remember pestering you to get the website going because people are making their plans now, and really don't wait until the last minute if you're coming from outside the area. I hope I was a "nice" pest, anyway!

If you hear any official scoop lemme know. Word of mouth is your best advertising. /sammie

12:20 PM  
Blogger Will Davis said...

I was hoping you would comment on this article and the decision it covers.

As you know, I disagree strongly with the commonplace notion that the hotel/motel tax on SPI must be used solely to "promote overnight stays at hotels, motels or condominiums," an unfortunate local shibboleth, I believe, which continues to prevent SPI, unlike other Texas coastal communities, from legitimately funding needs/activities widely supported by residents and visitors alike. Admittedly, I have failed miserably on this, not only to persuade others of my position but, indeed, even to provoke anyone to engage the question.

Nevertheless, while I know nothing about how to best improve "Sandcastle Days," I found your comments thoughtful and positive. Perhaps others will as well.

It has always been a mystery to me how a town the size and nature of SPI would not turn to local talent with such in-depth experience as you and your fellow SOB's for guidance and involvement in an event so clearly identifiable with the SPI ambience as is this event.

I am not alone in this wonderment.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Gee Will, another excellent post and very articulate indeed. I don't know how to fix the way that the Motel Tax is spent other than it seems really weird, like limited by stuff that was made up along the way. Perhaps you have some insights there because I don't understand all the mumbo-jumbo.

You know the history of Sand Castle Days back when it had spirit, creativity, emotion, hope and fun, not to mention a real conch shell blast to end each day at 5:00. What happened?

You also know us Sons of the Beach just want to have fun and do what's right and if you notice, there are no SOB people saying real stinky things. Nope, won't go there.

But do we have some cool ideas? Well heck yeah, but nobody asked us and none of us SOB's are on the committee. The first thing you might understand - and I am still learning - is that the Sand Castle Days was never intended to be exactly the same every year only maybe bigger. Wrongo, Wango-Leno (I made that up for an example, sorry Wango). Part of the snap, buzz, and pizazz was because every year something new and cool happened. Even in 100 degrees or driving rain, it was a blast, cutting edge stuff.

I hesitate to share any new ideas. Some are really cool, too! Will Davis I think you actually know one or two of them. Hehe, these artists are always about two steps ahead of us dummies, too - and I put myself in the dummy category. Sure, a little money for expenses and advertising was always needed, but the goal was to have some big purses for THE GRAND MASTER SAND SCULPTOR OF THE WORLD.

Sorry to rant about this but I think I'm onto something. We have the perfect sand. We have the perfect beach. Need I say more?

8:09 PM  

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