By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Aug 25, 2006 at 5:22 AM

Aesthetically celebrating their new surroundings, 200 freshmen at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) will transform Atwater Beach into an art gallery of refined sculpture.

The event takes place Friday, Aug. 25, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Atwater Beach, on the corner of Lake and Capitol Drives in Shorewood.

"The beach is open to the public and people will enjoy watching the sculptures come to life," says MIAD's Vivian Rothschild.

The artists will divide into small groups and build up to 20 monstrous beach sculptures. Prizes will go to the best overall sculpture, the most creative idea and other categories invented on the spot.

"The molecular structure of sand when it is combined with water forms a sculptable material that is nearly a solid allowing amazing sculpting capabilities," says Rothschild.

MIAD professor James Barany, who teaches first-year students at the college, coordinates the annual contest.

Space will be provided for spectators -- both adults and children -- who want to try their hands at sand sculpting.

MIAD is Wisconsin's only college devoted exclusively to the education of professional artists and designers. Founded in 1974, it is accredited to award the bachelor of fine arts degree in 11 majors, such as painting, communication design, industrial design, sculpture, photography, and video and animation.

The sand sculpture contest completes orientation week for MIAD's new and transfer students. The new class of 2010 includes 200 students representing 16 states and four foreign countries.

"It's a great way to wind down the week and lead into a family 'sand sculpting weekend' of one's own," says Rothschild.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.