Joe Castillo of ‘America’s Got Talent’ will demonstrate craft as part of Art Matters series

By  Taylor Clements| @KyKernel

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“America’s Got Talent” finalist Joe Castillo will visit campus Monday as a part of the Student Activities Board’s Art Matters: Sand Animation event at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall.

Free and open to the public, the event will feature Castillo’s sand art, called SandStory.

Also responsible for bringing ice sculpture artists to campus earlier this semester, SAB’s Art Matters series aims to present UK’s student body with new ways to view and conceptualize art.

“SAB hopes to present non-traditional art styles,” said Brittney Woodrum, director of Cultural Arts for SAB. “This event is our way to get art out of the gallery.”

Castillo works by manipulating sand into a series of pictures to tell a story, often set to music.

“I tell stories by drawing images in the sand,” Castillo said. “This is still a very new art form that has only recently been performed and filmed.”

After attending art school in Florida, Castillo moved to Kentucky and attended Asbury Theological Seminary. His studies led him to become a pastor in Richmond, Ky., where he developed his SandStory art.

“I want to tell epic stories in a new light,” Castillo said. “I really enjoy telling stories that will, in some way or another, change people’s lives.”

Castillo began performing SandStory art six years ago and rose to fame during his appearance on “America’s Got Talent.”

“It was a great experience,” Castillo said. “It was a whole lot of fun and I got a chance to meet fascinating, incredibly talented people.”

UK students will get to experience the art that landed Castillo in the top five of “America’s Got Talent.”

“It’s being brought directly to students,” said Mel Simon, the Cultural Arts Committee chair for SAB. “You won’t get another opportunity like this.”

Although students might have seen Castillo’s work on YouTube, where his videos now average 750,000 to 1 million views, Castillo hopes to provide a different experience live.

“Watching it on a laptop is not the same as watching it as a live performance,” Castillo said of his art. “It’s very unique, very captivating and something that has yet to be seen.”