Artists Canvas Sarasota County with Chalk, Sand

Artists from around the world will turn Sarasota into their personal canvas as two outdoor festivals both take place November 15-18, 2013.

UPDATE: for a current (2017) overview of these and other Sarasota County Fall events, see this article.


Streets will brim in a cornucopia of color as the Sarasota Chalk Festival takes over the streets of Burns Court, and Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Contest is set to turn Siesta Key Beach into a fantastic art exhibition.

CNN just named the Sarasota Chalk Festival one of the top in the world, so it is no surprise that the sidewalks fill quickly with curious onlookers.

This year's theme celebrates our nation's freedom and the people who make our freedom a reality. "Legacy of Valor," is a countywide celebration. Look for chalk art depicting this theme not only underneath your feet, but also above your head as artistic installations "go vertical" on nearby buildings. Finally enjoy performance artists who will round out this year's entertainment.

Once you are "chalk" full, head west to the Siesta beachfront for museum-worthy sculptures created in a mere 24 hours. In three short years, the sands of Siesta Beach has become the favorite of master sandsculptors from around the world. Artists pack and chisel away at the quartz sand crystals, hence the name "Crystal" Classic, creating impressive works of art from the white-sands of Siesta Beach.

The four-day art event will include an all-day viewing Friday through Monday, live entertainment and more than 50 vendors filling the festival atmosphere. Tickets are $10 and are good for the entire four-day event. Purchase admission tickets, 4-day VIP parking permits and donate to the event by visiting More information is included below.

This year, ten teams of two sculptors come from eight different countries and will compete for $13,000 in prize money. Learn how to be an amateur sculptor yourself, as sandsculpting lessons run throughout the event. Master Sand Sculptor and Crystal Classic founder Brian Wigelsworth, a Sarasota local, will be the event sand manager this year. Proceeds of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic benefit Mote Marine Laboratory's sea turtle research and conservation. Visit for more information.

Sarasota Chalk Festival

If you go:
Admission: free, for ticketed event information, call or visit
Street paintings, performance: North and South Pineapple Avenue
Gallery: Ice House, on 10th Street between Central & Cocoanut 
Phone: 954-5800
Email: [email protected]

Featured Events:

• Nov. 12: VIP Preview of "Reimagining Sarasota Chalk Artists Show" ticketed
• Nov. 13-18: XXL 3D Artists start painting
• Nov. 14-24: 'Reimagining' Show Opening, ticketed
• Nov. 15-18: Street painters start
• Nov. 16-17: Veteran Artists start
• Nov. 16-17: Children & Student Chalk Blocks start
• Nov. 16-17: Thoughtful Reflection exhibition
• 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Nov. 16: Veteran's ceremony, Dinner, Show & Dance
• Nov. 17: Artists Closing Party, ticketed
• Nov. 18: Artwork completed viewing day
• Nov. 13-24: Lectures, symposiums and video at the Gallery

Siesta Key Crystal Classic

If you go:
Tickets: $10, valid all four days
VIP parking permits: $49
Contact: 349-3800, Chastanna Niemann at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
Website: Ticket purchases, parking permits and donations are all available online
2013 master sandsculpting teams:
• Craig Mutch, Canada, a 2012 winner, and Bill Dow, Montana
• Karen Fralich, Canada, and Dan Belcher, Missouri, both 2011 winners
• Sandis Kondrats, Latvia, a 2010 winner, and Bert Adams, Washington
• Michela Ciappini, Italy, and Jan Zelinka, Czech Republic
• Abe Waterman, Canada, a 2012 winner, and Morgan Rudluff, California
• Steve Topazio, Rhode Island, and Ron MacDonald, Florida
• Matt Long, New York, and Andy Gertler, New York
• Brett Stocker, Mexico, and Fred Mallet, Texas
• Marek Elsner, Poland, and Ulrich Braentsch, Germany
• Sean Fitzpatrick, Massachusetts, and Andy Hancock, Texas

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Competition
The Sarasota Chalk Festival
The Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Competition
The Sarasota Chalk Festival