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News from Charleston's Art Community

Artifacts: Art news and events

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First Novel

One of the hardest hurdles for unpublished authors is getting their first novel in print. With that in mind, next year the S.C. Arts Commission will give one lucky writer the opportunity to fill some shelf space with his or her very own novel.

In a deal with the Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg, the Commission will make its selection over a five-month period via a panel of judges and an out-of-state, high profile author. The First Novel Competition is open to adults who've never had a long form work of fiction in print. If, like any self-respecting writer, they've had work rejected by publishers in the past, they're still eligible.

A minimum of 1,200 hardback copies will be printed by Hub City and some will be distributed to public libraries throughout the state. Deadline for submissions (with a $25 filing fee) is Jan. 2, 2008.

For writers too busy to bang out a novel there's the Commission's South Carolina Fiction Project, a short story initiative co-sponsored by The Post and Courier. Jan. 15, 2008, is the cut-off date for entries. For more info on either of the competitions, call (803) 734-8694. —Nick Smith

The Art Thieves

Local thieves are getting tasteful these days. Why hold up a KFC when you can wander into a downtown bar and slip out again with a contemporary painting tucked under your arm?

Mind you, whoever stole Phillip Hyman's "Zombie Girl" must have longer arms than most. The 36" x 30" depiction of an undead roller derby babe was painted on a recycled door — not exactly the sort of swag that would be easy to conceal.

"Zombie Girl" was stolen from Julio Cotto's new bar, The Black Cart located above Joe Pasta on the corner of King and John streets, in mid-September. About a week later, a very different artwork was nabbed — this time a $5,000, half-ton sculpture bolted to the ground in Summerville. The town's Sculpture in the South exhibition has been running for several years, but this is the first instance of someone hauling one of the public statues away. Sadly, the disappearance of "Dreamin' of the Big Game" wasn't the last art theft in the neighborhood. At the end of September, a 75-100 lb. abstract sculpture called "The Skier" also got lifted, according to its private owner Elaine Segelken.

If you see a super-strong, freakishly long-limbed art enthusiast hauling gaudy statues around, call the cops before we're obliged to merge our visual arts page with the Blotter. —Nick Smith

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