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Best Functional Fine Art

Downtown Bus Stops
Five Locations

READERS' PICK: Well, okay, the five new, commissioned SunTran Bus Stops certainly fit the bill. But you can't take 'em home with ya. We applaud your non-materialist leanings. Now here are a couple of other options for the less civic-minded.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: WomanKraft, 388 S. Stone Ave.

CLUE IN: It's a little off the beaten path, which makes us adore Apparatus, 299 S. Park Ave., all the more. Everything about this place is arty: from the sculpted gates of rusted metal containing the outdoor sculpture garden, to the varnished steel floor (you'd never know it was metal if you didn't ask) of the shrine-like front room that gallery owner Sharon Holnback designed and built herself. But best of all, of course, are the artists she's chosen, who revel in creating unique, functional fine art for decorating your home (found-object sculptures of animals, bugs and abstract designs, furniture, pottery and other ceramics) or yourself (pins, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and even a few objects you may have to ask the nature of). Among our favorite pieces for under $30 are the whimsical metal lawn ornaments (everything from ladybugs to UFOs), hand-built ceramic luminarias, and mosaic tile flower pots.

In addition, the gallery has again morphed and expanded to provide a dedicated photography exhibit space (an homage to Holnback's first medium), an artist's library, and more room for Apparatus' rotating roster of shows by local artists, which have included strong work in two- and three-dimensional media by some real up-and-comers. If you haven't been there lately, it's time for a return visit. (You may also see Holnback's metal work on display on the patio at Old Town Artisans.)

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