4400 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-926-7871
By Elizabeth Dehn
Photo by David J. Turner
Peer through the giant glass door that fronts Kiddywampus and you’ll see little green chairs and miniature blue tables, a ceiling covered in billowy clouds, and little Jackson Pollocks at work. The whimsical space was tailor-made for the kids who visit the art studio and retail shop: The owner, Amy Saldanha, a former lawyer and current mother of three, designed it with her own children in mind. Along with art classes, Kiddywampus offers a selection of unique, globally sourced goods: foreign-language building blocks; quirky toys that come without instructions (allowing kids to use their imagination); and books for young readers that encourage adventure and feature all manner of creatures, including a Rastafarian mouse. Interactive items, like bumblebee-shaped scooters and spring-loaded jumping bugs, are set out for young shoppers to experience. The business, launched a year ago, has yet to turn a profit, but someday, Saldanha hopes to give all post-tax proceeds to children’s charities. Until then, she plans to select one day each month (this month, it’s June 13) to donate 20 percent of sales to a good cause. Think of it as a work of art, in progress.