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Philabaum Contemporary Art Glass and Studios
711 S. Sixth Ave.

STAFF PICK: We discovered this one on a day when Mom had a queasy stomach and the kids kept jumping on the bed, shrieking, "Cooome on, mooooom, let's do something! Let's go somewhere!" So we piled into the wagon and headed downtown, with no particular place in mind. When we saw the upended airplane wing in front of the Philabaum Gallery and Studios, we knew this was the stop. After walking in and out of the cut-out doorway a dozen or more times and playing games of wild imaginations, we meandered into the studio. This part of the outing comes, of course, only after a threatening and stern lecture: They must pretend their arms have become mysteriously glued to their sides and they are not to move them until all of them have filed quickly through the gallery and into the studio. This may be more difficult for moms than kids, though, because these tantalizing glass creations beg to be ogled and ahhhed over, from the huge objets d'art in the front room to the more functional martini glasses and jewelry in the middle rooms. Save that for another day.

The Philabaum folks throw open the doors to the studio where these glass artists work, and they're more than accommodating to gawkers. A couple of rows of chairs are set up in full view of the several furnaces and tables where work is done. Watch them stick gobs of molten glass on long pipes into the flames, heating the mass to a workable state. Then they pull them out, and use a variety of tools on the syrupy-looking orb while spinning the pipe to form their creations. It's really quite spectacular, and entertains even the youngest artist-wannabe.

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