St. Louis is lucky enough to support a thriving art scene, a slew of talented artists and an eager audience. This year, as it did four years ago, Mad Art Gallery has proven to be the best art venue to serve the city's cultural scene in its manifold forms. From his ongoing open call for art, gallery owner Ron Buechele culls artists and often combines them into thoughtful shows -- New Paintings/New Glass
featuring works by Sam Stang, David Levi and Jaime Gartelos, for instance, and Ambivalent Domain
, with Steve Brown, Jay Fram and Andy van der Tuin. Mad Art also manages to attract an enormous swath of the population that might otherwise rarely step into an art gallery, hosting art fundraisers like Mad Arf (benefiting Stray Rescue of St. Louis), the ciné16 film series and performances by the likes of the Trachtenberg Family Slide Show and the Moscows. In anyone else's hands, an art gallery housed in an Art Deco former police station would have been a cute, one-off joke. Buechele has turned it into the city's most generous, inviting cultural destination.