Rome wasn't completed in a day, but these pieces will be 

Art on the Fly

It took Renaissance go-to guy Michelangelo about three years to complete his masterwork, the marble statue David.

Artists participating in the Quick Draw/Speed Sculpt event at SEWE won't have the luxury of that kind of time. Consequently, they probably won't have a ninja turtle named after them, either.

The speedy showcase is open to anyone with a Friday, weekend, or VIP pass, and will be a chance for the 18 painters and five sculptors taking part to create original pieces and have them auctioned off.

One catch: They'll have only an hour to start and complete their wildlife-themed work.

"It's a lot of energy going in and coming out," says singularly-monikered sculptor, Karryl, whose clay rendering of an elephant sold for about $2,000 at last year's SEWE. "While I'm working, people will ask me questions and walk back and forth, looking at the other artists."

When the hour is up, the artists will have 30 minutes to allow their pieces to dry and be framed or set. The auction commences at 4:30 p.m., and after a bid has been accepted, the piece will remain on display in the artist's area for the remainder of the show — unless the buyer wants to haul it away immediately.

"The event creates a lot of buzz in the ballroom," says SEWE Art Coordinator Lindy Shealy. "It's amazing to see what artists can do in an hour."

Sculptors will set both the minimum bidding price on their No. 1 piece, and the price and number of any reproductions. After the event, they'll cast the auctioned pieces at their foundries, before delivering the finished work to buyers in a timely manner — a process that would presumably take more than an hour. Painters will also set the minimum bid for their work.

The Pennsylvania-based Karryl, who's been a SEWE fixture for more than a decade, says that being prepared is a must in any speed event. Usually.

"Preparation is the most important thing," she says. "Although, saying that, I've gone into these things with no clue what I'm going to do and changed animals halfway through."

That, of course, is part of what makes this event — and live art in general — so appealing: anything can happen.

There is, however, one constant.

"When they ring the buzzer," Karryl says, "I hop to it."

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