AIA Houston Board Votes to Revive Beloved Sandcastle Competition


We’re pleased to report that Sandcastle will continue in 2024 and beyond. Earlier this month we were able to reach a partnership agreement with the Galveston Parks Board that we believe will work well for both parties going forward. That agreement was unanimously accepted yesterday by the AIA Houston Board of Directors. A huge thank you to those of you who helped us save this event. Special thanks to Vince Lorafice with the Galveston Parks Board, Galveston Mayor Craig Brown, City Councilwoman Marie Robb, and City Manager Brian Maxwell for their help in making this possible. Sandcastle 2024 will be September 21, 2024!



AIA Houston Board Votes to Revive Beloved Sandcastle Competition and Fundraiser in Galveston for 2024

Galveston, TX (November 29, 2023) – At a special meeting, the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston chapter announced the revival of the renowned Sandcastle Competition and fundraiser, scheduled to take place in Galveston in 2024. This decision follows a collaborative effort with the Galveston Park Board, overcoming the initial decision to sunset the event made during the AIA Houston board's October meeting.

"We are pleased to announce the continuation of the AIA Sandcastle event in Galveston. After productive discussions and negotiations with the Galveston Park Board, we have reached a five-year agreement to bring back this iconic event and ensure its future," said Rusty Bienvenue, Executive Director of AIA Houston.

The Sandcastle Competition, a favorite among architecture and design enthusiasts, will continue at East Beach in Galveston, thanks to a new agreement with the Galveston Park Board. The contract includes a five-year commitment, ensuring the event's presence in Galveston through 2028.

Vince Lorefice, Parks General Manager for the Galveston Park Board, remarked, "We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with AIA Houston and find a mutually beneficial solution. The return of the Sandcastle Competition to East Beach promises not only a spectacular event but also strengthens the bond between the AIA and the Galveston community."

The event, traditionally held in August, will see a scheduling adjustment, and will take place on September 21, 2024.

The terms of the agreement outline a comprehensive plan, including long-term commitments, financial considerations, and collaborative marketing efforts between AIA Houston and the Galveston Park Board. The collaboration also involves Visit Galveston, contributing to the success of the event with an annual business development contribution of $9,500.

“This event brings great value, not only in its impact on our community but also in its legacy and ability to create lasting memories,” said Tony Lyle, Executive Director of Visit Galveston. “The unique and creative spirit of the Sandcastle Competition aligns perfectly with the Galveston brand, making it a must-attend event for locals and visitors alike.”

About the Galveston Park Board of Trustees
The Galveston Park Board of Trustees is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023. The organization plays an important role in the Galveston community by overseeing tourism development, over 30 miles of beachfront maintenance, and the management of several beach parks. The Park Board was established in 1963 by a City of Galveston ordinance that tasked the organization with spearheading tourism and managing land for recreational purposes as part of a wider Texas environmental push that aimed to protect coastal waters and habitats. For more information, visit

About AIA Houston
A local chapter of American Institute of Architects (AIA), AIA Houston is a community of architects. Through a diverse catalog of programs, members have access to resources and tools to shape the built environment of Greater Houston. AIA Houston’s public outreach programs serve as a platform for experiencing architecture and design on a personal level and reach a wide range of audiences and those interested in learning more about Houston’s built environment. Our most noted public programs, AIA Sandcastle Competition and AIA Home Tour, engage over 25,000 people every year. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Mackenzie Finklea
Galveston Park Board
Public Relations Manager
Mobile: 409-919-3635

Ellen Grodjesk
AIA Houston
Communications Manager
Direct: 713.520.0155