Sand Sculpture Competition Benefits Mentor Program

It starts with a pile of sand. 150 tons of sand, to be exact.

Through forming the sand with water and tools, shapes start to emerge, sometimes with the help of pre-built wooden forms that are then taken away to reveal the design.

The sand sculptures at Edgewater Beach this weekend are not the bucket-shaped castles you made in the sandbox as a kid. The American Institute of Architects now uses sand as the medium to create bright futures for area students - who are interested in careers focused on architecture, construction and engineering. The ACE Mentor Program matches teens with professionals, and the recent sand sculpture competition raised funds for Cleveland’s chapter.

Matthew Yourkvitch from a Cleveland-based law firm enlisted the help of his two daughters, 8-year-old Emerson and 5-year-old Elliana. This was the fourth year for the competition, and the family has competed all four years.

They won an honorable mention for their design of Cleveland’s Free Stamp, despite a design malfunction in the last hour of the competition.

Three teams took home a prize, and one of those teams was Bialosky architects. Nine-year-old Aiden Schultze-Newkirk helped his family build the pyramid.

“It was really stressful, actually,” he said.

The trees on one side of the mound are formed from a mixture of sand and water. The other side is a carefully sculpted pyramid.

“It’s like man-made versus nature. And we have our spoon on top. We call it Mount Spoon,” Schultze-Newkirk said.

AECOM won Best Sculpture for a Harry Potter-themed design. They’ve won an award every year of the competition.

The Cleveland Metroparks team won the Cleveland Spirit award for their sandy adaptation of the Coast Guard station. Sean McDermott was one of the team members. He says even if they hadn’t won an award, it still would have been a win for the Metroparks.

“It’s great to see the turnout today, great to see what’s happening here at Edgewater Beach, and great to see what’s happening all around the lakefront in Cleveland,” he said.

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