Sand sculpture in Chester gets lots of attention

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>A look at the Chester sand sculpture created by Paul Dawkins.</p>

Supporters of the Chester Art Centre are hoping a two-and-a-half-metre high sand sculpture in its Queen Street lot lasts past any significant rainfall and remains an attraction through Halloween.

When she's not running the non-profit, Sue LeBlanc, the centre's executive director, has been tasked with periodically spritzing a watered-down glue to the sea-inspired creation to give it weather-toughness.

"I was thinking of covering it with glow-in-the-dark glue for Halloween," LeBlanc told LighthouseNOW with a laugh during a recent phone call.

Paul Dawkins, a gifted world-record-holding sculptor, approached places in the Chester area seeking to find a spot to showcase his craft and create one of the tallest sand sculptures in the province's history.

The arts community pointed him to the Chester Arts Centre, where LeBlanc welcomed the idea.

"I thought, 'What the heck, let's go for it,'" she said, adding another chuckle.

Dawkins wanted to create an attraction and include participation. A series of multi-weekend public workshops were established to encourage people to get their hands dirty no matter how broad or narrow their experience with sculpting.

Dawkins's art includes collective depictions of a lighthouse, lobster, small houses, a road, and a smattering of fishermen figures. He's been designing and building sand, snow and ice sculptures for five decades. "He credits his experience as a stop-action film animator and artistic background for the attention his carvings bring him," the art centre reported in an online post. "His creations are always designed to tell a story and give the appearance of movement."

"There have been people from all over the province driving by just to see that sand sculpture," LeBlanc told LighthouseNOW.

It's hoped Dawkins can return for another event next summer.

LeBlanc said it's all about getting people reacquainted with the art centre.

"We want to give back and engage with the community," she said.

The art centre develops year-round programs, including learning opportunities, and promotes arts in the area and the village as an arts destination. To learn more, go to https://www.chesterartcentre.ca on the internet.

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