The rumor that Fort Worth Star-Telegram art critic Janet Tyson was fired August 23 after making an irreverent comment about senior features editor Julie Heaberlin seemed too ridiculous to be true. The story went that Tyson, with a 10-year track record covering art at the daily paper, popped off that someone should put a microwave under the chair of Heaberlin, who has both a pacemaker and a reputation for being difficult. But who fires a 10-year veteran for smarting off? The more plausible explanation is that Tyson's overly academic style was growing tiresome and that her new boss, Eric Celeste, now features editor and second in command under Heaberlin, was hounding Tyson to liven up her arts coverage. And Tyson -- ever one for the "serious" exhibition review -- simply decided to quit rather than comply. But Blink believes the first version is closer to the truth. One source close to the Star-Telegram says the paper is still discussing how it will handle the announcement regarding the conditions of Tyson's leaving. The newspaper's legal team must be involved, and those guys undoubtedly have a filing cabinet dedicated to allegations of "wrongful termination" that contains mile-high documents involving former editor Debbie Price and former publisher Rich Connor.

The newspaper has two arts writers to pick up the slack. Andrew Martin, a new hire out of New York, has been pegged to cover art news and gallery briefs. Then there's Suzanne Akhtar, the paper's freelance Sunday gallery reviewer. Meanwhile, Tyson, who couldn't be reached for comment, has one of her paintings in the Artist/Writer exhibition opening September 18 at Richland College. Perhaps Celeste will attempt to liven up his arts reporting by sending Martin or Akhtar to cover the opening.

The jury is out

The Dallas Visual Art Center serves as a clearinghouse for artists to submit work to juried competitions outside the area. Two new opportunities have been announced: Joanne Rapp, of the Joanne Rapp Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona, is soliciting slides for works in ceramics, fibers, metal, wood, glass, and jewelry for her Galeria Mesa 22nd Annual Vahki Exhibition. Entry fee is $20; deadline is September 21; call (602) 644-2056. Barbara McCandless, photography curator at Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum, is the juror for the Annual Fall American show at Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. Photography in landscape, people, architecture, public service, transportation, and open categories will be considered. Fee is $10-14 per print; deadline is October 13; call (505) 378-4142.

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