Town of Carefree welcomes back popular sand sculptor

The Town of Carefree welcomes world renowned artist and sculptor Ray Villafane back to create sand art like no other within the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, Carefree Desert Gardens starting March 4.

Sand sculptor Ray Villafane returns to Carefree next month to create another one of his popular works of sand art.

Admission is free and open to the public every day of the week. The exhibit will be on display through August.

The first life-size signature sculptor created by Ray Villafane and Sue Beatrice in the Carefree Desert Gardens was completed in May of 2016 titled, “Elephant playing chess with a field mouse,” consisting of 24 tons of sand sourced from the Salt River in Arizona.

The exhibit garnered world attention by the media who had never seen sand sculpting taken to that level. This year Nikolay Torkhov from Moscow, Russia will join Mr. Villafane in creating 24 tons of grandeur over the two-week period. The two artists met a few years ago in Italy at a sand event and Mr. Villafane was impressed with his abilities and decided he could represent Villafane Studios.

Mr. Villafane has invited professional stone balancer Tim Anderson, a Pennsylvania native, to join him in Carefree the weekend of March 17-19 to transform the Gardens into an artistic stone stacking playground. Visitors can watch demonstrations, participate and ask questions as the two defy the laws of physics without the use of any adhesives other than gravity and stones provided by Mother Nature to create unusual artistic formations in the Desert Gardens pools and around the scenic landscape.

The Thunderbird artists will also be present in the downtown area for their Carefree Fine Art and Wine event that weekend. Admission that weekend is $3.

The silt’s fine texture, married with a tamping process and the right amount of water allows for Mr. Villafane to achieve greater detail with his sculpting.  When finished he sprays a solution of water and glue on the entire sculpture to protect it from the elements allowing it to last upwards of six months for thousands of visitors to enjoy.

Mr. Villafane has been on the global scene for 10 years carving sand and says, “I love Carefree and glad to be back again for a second year within the beautiful Desert Gardens, it’s a playground and inspiration and appreciate the Town allowing me to be a part of it.”

For more information visit or call 480-488-3686.

For more photos of Ray Villafane’s work visit


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