| SANDTOPIA is
a brand of sand sculpture operation specifically produced as an entertainment
and tourism draw, for communities or private businesses everywhere, not only
at coastal communities.
Sand sculpture in one or more of the myriad ways it is being presented commercially today all around the world, is the anchor draw for any Sandtopia operation.
But Sandtopia events can also encapsulate other event oriented activities, from arts and/or craft shows, kite festivals and other outdoor sporting activities, conservation awareness and educational projects, charity fundraising, etc. as adjuncts to the sand entertainment. The sand entertainment ranges in formats from static displays of sand sculptures on exhibition or as competitions for & by pros, or family / amateurs. There is usually a sand sculpture workshop for teaching the craft as well.
Each Sandtopia installation is unique to the community or business location where it is being presented. It may be a temporary show, or setup as a permanent sand sculpture gallery, garden or park. Communities and private businesses are encouraged to contact Sandtopia to discuss implementing an operation in their respective locations.
SANDTOPIA is the brain child of Rich Varano
SANDTOPIA is a division of:
Varano Sand Sculpture Company LLC (VSS)
Rich Varano established VSS in the early 1980's and since that time, he has been traveling the world over continuously, working in the sand sculpture industry and competing in the sport, making friends and acquaintances in the business along the way.
Today he is networked with hundreds of people in the business around the globe and has numerous associates on six continents. he utilizes the talents of these individuals on a contracted and as needed basis at events all over the globe. Collectively these groups, brought together for the various special events are known as the "Sultans Of Sand Worldwide" or team Varano Sand Sculpture Company.
At age six on his home beach
Rich Varano began sand sculpting at age six on New Smyrna Beach, on the central east coast of Florida, in Volusia County.
When his father Frank, and avid amateur sand sculpture enthusiast himself, showed the young boy how a big pile of sand one could shovel up in just ten minutes or so could quickly and easily be rendered into fun and amazing sand sculptures, Little Richie went home and threw away his play-doh.
Varano practiced the craft as a hobby ever since. Until one day as a young man in his mid twenties, he discovered people would pay him to create sand sculpture. Within a year, and ever since that time, Sand sculpture and related activities has been the only thing he has done for a living.
That was almost three full decades ago. At that time, he established Varano Sand Sculpture Co. (VSS)
Shortly after that, in the mid 1980's, he was employed at Sea World in Orlando where he was the full time sand sculptor creating captivating sand art displays 40 hours per week as entertainment for the thousands of guest visiting the park each day. There, he honed his sand sculpting (and people) skills even more. He was media trained by that company and was utilized occasionally on tour as a target market entertainment and spokesperson to promote the marine life park..
At an international festival in Canada
| After eight
years of doing both his full time sand sculpting job at Sea World and running
his burgeoning sand sculpture business, which was providing sand sculpture
entertainment for the special events industry worldwide, he became too busy
to do both. So, although Sea World was a great company to work for
and provided good benefits, he let that go to dedicate himself full time
to his growing global sand sculpture company. He immediately was on tour
full time, and has spent much of the time since then living in various hotels
around the world.
He now has over 100 associate worldwide who work for him on an as needed basis.
The group is collectively known as the "Sultans Of Sand Worldwide"
Varano is now in his third decade of spending a portion of each year abroad as a touring professional sand sculptor.
He spends two months each year in Jesolo (Venice) Italy, where he directs the International Sand Sculpture Festival each spring, and the Sand Nativity in the winter, just before christmas.