Best Art Supplies (Nontraditional) - 2004
One of the first laws you learn in art school is, "Anything can be art." The corollary that follows right behind that is, "Don't throw anything away, because it could be art." Leftovers, Etc. operates on both of these principles. Just down the street from the Bevo Mill, their expansive St. Louis store (there's also a St. Charles location, at 1759 Scherer Parkway; 636-946-9779) is an art student's dream: Racks of salvaged tins, magazines, stationery and bolts of fabric. Phalanxes of empty Mrs. Butterworth bottles, a battered army of tiny athletes from years of unwanted sports trophies and towers of yogurt containers. Bins of pens and crayons, rolls of tiny red Marlboro stickers no bigger than your fingernail and a bucket full of the yellow plastic legs from the old Cooties toy that was popular in the '70s. There's a book exchange, an arts-and-crafts book library and new loads of stuff coming in daily, all of it for sale ($4 or $7 for a paper grocery sack full of goodies), all of it waiting to be transformed into art by clever, thrifty hands. Check out their Trash-to-Art Museum for ideas, or just imagine what you could make from 50 green milk bottle caps, a coffee can full of doll limbs and a surveyor's map of Indiana. You'll never hit the thrift stores again.