Artist Ted Siebert jumped onto the back of the truck containing 20 tons of sand Tuesday morning and looked down at his medium, a special variety of sand called Hanson Cyclone Sand. "It's fine," he said with a smile.
The truck then dumped its contents onto the pre-marked 30-by-30 foot square at the corner of 400 South and 200 East that will become Siebert's outdoor studio.
The Utah Arts Festival commissioned Siebert, a Guinness World Record-winning sand artist from the Illinois-based Sand Sculpture Company, to create an original artwork for the event. Inspired by a sculpture in Taiwan, Siebert decided to craft a couple dancing the flamenco, their faces partially hidden by a fan. "I liked the idea of the fan," Siebert said. "It's a really nice texture to create with sand."
Siebert was commissioned to create a sculpture for the festival in 2002, but lacked the space needed to invite him back, said Lisa Sewell, festival executive director. After all, it's hard to find a place to dump 20 tons of sand. It took replanning the layout of exhibits and booths to find enough space, she said.
Siebert will spend most of the weekend sculpting the sand into the sculpture. He has done many of his projects with teams of assistants, but is eager to embark on this venture alone. "I'm by myself here, I get to sink or swim," Siebert said.
Festivalgoers are invited to watch Siebert work through the sculpting process, and his outdoor studio is in a convenient location: right in front of a wall of portable restrooms.
His work involves more than simply playing in the sand, said Eugenie Jaffe, festival public relations coordinator from Bombshell Music & Media group. "It's going to be more like a sport," Jaffe said.
The sculpture will be on display until Monday morning, when the Salt Lake City Parks Department will pick the sand and use it for various projects throughout the city.
The Utah Arts Festival opens Thursday, June 21 at noon and continues through Sunday, June 24 at 11 p.m.
Get ready for Utah's arty party
Where • Library Square, 200 East and 400 South, Salt Lake City
When • Thursday through Sunday
Hours • Noon to 11 p.m.
Admission • $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (65 and older), free for kids 12 and younger. A four-day pass is $30. A lunchtime special offers $5 tickets from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. A "y'all come back" pass, available at the exits, is good for 2-for-1 admission on a return visit.
More • For Sean P. Means' alphabet-themed festival preview, visit bit.ly/OZ6kkL. For the UAF schedule and information, visit uaf.org.