CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It might top a local best-sellers list this week, except for one important detail: "Public Art: Charleston, West Virginia," the new guide to the city's outdoor sculpture, murals and more, is free.
And if you don't pick up one of the pocket-size guidebooks at one of the many FestivALL activities through Sunday, you might not get one at all.
The 86-page book catalogs 45 of Charleston's outdoor artworks, from Albert Paley's towering "Hallelujah" at the Clay Center to Joe Mullins' teeny "Mortar Man" tucked into a niche along the 100 block of Capitol Street.
Each piece gets a separate page, with a color photo and a brief description and/or information about the artist. A table of contents includes color-coded thumbnail photos, and maps of each neighborhood -- downtown, East End, West Side and South Hills -- show where to find the art.
The book was published through a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant aimed at creating an inventory of the city's public art and developing policies for promoting public art.
The first 2,000 copies arrived from the printer Friday, said Charleston Area Alliance Vice President Susie Salisbury, who helped obtain the grant and write the book.
"By Sunday they were gone," Salisbury said. "They were available at the FestivALL merchandise booth at all the major events, at Charleston City Hall in the city manager's office, at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. I think the Clay Center's are gone. They had their Family Fun Day on Sunday. They went out the door.
"Taste-of-All Charleston, the chili cook-off. And Taylor Books, the library and the Culture Center. The Culture Center was going to give them out on West Virginia Day.
"The second printing of 3,000 arrived Monday. We're holding some back for this weekend," Salisbury said. "Once they're gone, the PDF version will be available [on a website, PublicArtCharleston.org, which is not yet active] and we'll start looking for funds to reprint.
"It's a great problem to have. I'd rather see that happen than see them sit in boxes somewhere."
Producing the book was a team effort involving Salisbury, Clay Center President Judy Wellington and Naomi Bays of the Arts Council of Kanawha Valley. Pittsburgh art consultant Renee Piechocki wrote the first draft, and Megan Bullock of MESH, the West Side design studio, designed the book.
"I gave Renee a lot of information," Salisbury said. "Mary Jane Vanderwilt from the Beautification Commission gave me a lot of historical information, and Renee, as part of her NEA contract, pulled all that together."
Piechocki also contacted as many of the artists as she could find.
"We showed them their page of the guidebook," she said. "It was really wonderful. We heard back from nearly all of them, at least 20. They were really excited to be part of a book that Charleston was putting together.