Son of world famous artist recognized by peers at Hampton sand sculpting competitionKIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent June 17. 2018 9:34PM
HAMPTON – The son of a popular artist who passed away earlier this year took home the coveted Sculptor’s Choice Award during the 18th annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition.
Marc Lepire, of Quebec, suddenly lost his father, Michel, in January due to a heart attack.
The sculpting community was deeply saddened by the loss. Michel Lepire won the People’s Choice Award many times at Hampton Beach and won first place in the solo competition in 2003 and 2011.
Marc Lepire turned his grief into inspiration for this year’s competition and created “Wind Lovers,” a tribute to his father.
“Marc did a nice piece and dedicated it to his father. The sculptors voted for Marc and that was really nice,” organizer Greg Grady said. “It’s a very coveted award. It’s voted on by just the sculptors.”
Grady said during the awards ceremony Saturday night, all the artists were hugging and crying when the announcement was made.
Earlier this year, Grady said master sculptors are a close-knit group and the name Lepire is known throughout the world.
Abe Waterman, of Prince Edward Island, took home first place and $3,000 for his creation “Temptation.” It features a woman in a bottle.
Melineige Beauregard, of Montreal, won second place and $2,500 for “Rising.” It features a woman breaking through high rise buildings.
Beauregard won first place last year with her piece “Dance of the Undefined.”
Beauregard is the daughter of internationally renowned sculptor Guy Beauregard. In 2013, Beauregard was the Grand Champion in the first All Woman World Championship of Sand Sculpting in Florida.
In a brochure for the competition, Beauregard said sand sculpting is a spiritual experience.
“When my hands touch the material, when my heart opens to give life, when my head is illuminated by light, I become the co-creator of the universe,” Beauregard said. “An artist is one who spiritualizes matter.”
Dan Belcher, of Missouri, won third place and $2,000 for “Waterdance.” It features a man basking in the sunlight and he reaches his left arm out over what appears to be a wave.
Each competitor gets 10 tons of sand and a limited amount of time to work over the course of two days.
The special sand is imported from a quarry in southern New Hampshire and is easier to work with than the sand typically found at Hampton Beach, according to Grady.
The Hampton Fire Department provides artists with the water they need.
The sculptures will be lighted nightly for viewing until June 27.