Among Harris’ personal favorites is a depiction of the signing
of the Declaration of Independence. All the Founding Fathers
are there in 10-foot sandy splendor, as is the famous document,
an edge of which realistically drops down the side of the table
as John Hancock signs with a flourish.
Viewers can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that
the whole thing is made with just sand. It can create a problem
for the sculptors because people often act on the need to touch
the sculptures to ascertain that it is, indeed, just sand.
“They just want to touch and they go straight for the faces,”
Only a foolish sculptor would not place fencing between the
sculpture and the audience.
The sky is literally the limit when it comes to subject matter
and size. One of Harris’ sculptures, a six-story castle tower,
held the world record for height, until another sculptor created
a taller one and then another artist surpassed that.
Sculptures can routinely rise to 30 feet; the artist works from
the top down, using a series of ledges that encircle the sculpture.
As the artist progresses down, the rudimentary scaffolding is
removed so at the end the sculptor is on firm ground.
Sand sculpture is also part performance art, for the artists
are often expected to interact with the public, who love to
Harris and Koet are so in demand because clients realize
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how much of a people magnet their creations can be. While
amazingly complex, these sculptures also connect viewers with
“Everyone can relate to building a sandcastle,” Harris said.
While ultimately ephemeral, the sculptures are surprisingly longlasting.
Brevard Zoo’s sand creatures will be on display through
April, only needing weekly touchups to fix imperfections caused
by errant squirrels or pine needles.
“They can last up to six months,” Harris said.
Like all sand sculptors, Harris accepts the transitory nature of
“We compare it to performing a concert or cooking a gourmet
dinner,” she said.
“It’s for the moment and that is what we like.”
The massive Signing of the
Declaration of Independence,
one of Harris’ favorite creations,
was installed in Pittsburgh.
What: Life Beneath Our Seas
Where: Brevard Zoo, 8225
N. Wickham Road, Melbourne
When: Now until April 30;
during regular zoo hours,
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free with