BEST ART SUPPLIES Minneapolis 2005 - MCAD Art Cellar
Really, there are only two things required of an art supply store: cheap goods and a reasonably helpful staff. While the mostly-student staff at MCAD's art supply store can be a touch on the surly side, the prices are hard to beat. The Art Cellar is of another era, a retail store with no corporate logos or cold, corporate uniformity. There are, instead, hand-lettered and -decorated signs that steer you toward the cheapest paints and impart wisdom about the goods. ("Most of these acetate sheets will not go through the Xerox," warns one sign. "They will melt! We sell transparency sheets behind the counter.") Since it's a nonprofit shop dedicated to serving cash-strapped art students, the Art Cellar's markups are minimal. What's more, the inventory of Conte Crayons, sketchpads, and the like is impressive, even though it's crammed into five small aisles: two for paints; one for pencils, brushes, and other tools; one for sketchpads and paper; and the last for books (where you'll find slim pickings of art textbooks, a few e.e. cummings collections, and Kurt Vonnegut novels). Just be sure to heed one sign that best sums up the place's aesthetic: "Stealing is for dumb-ass rich kids with nothing better to do. Be a proletariat and pay for your books."