2737 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

The NE neighborhood that I call home is full of little intrigues, including sidewalk BBQ gurus and Baptist churches that fill the streets with a holy Sunday ruckus. The unique characteristics of the community spill into some unusual suspects, including financial institutions. On the way to work I drive past the American State Bank (ASB) on MLK Blvd. The large north windows of the building expose a bank like no other; the passer-by is privy to large walls taken hostage by paintings.

Recently I stopped at ASB to go in for a closer look. Stepping into the bank's lobby, I was 100 percent bedazzled; It took me a long time to take it all in. In a hyper-salon style hanging, (+ la PICA's Open Walls exhibit) every available surface was utilized to display hundreds of amateur oil paintings collected by the bank's president. The awesome sight is comprised with a healthy selection of landscapes, seascapes, and the occasional portrait. Additionally, any counter top left unguarded is topped with a plexi-glass case displaying a large collection of model cars, including a Miller beer delivery truck, complete with tiny wooden kegs.

The result of this is a kitsch wonderland that separates American State Bank from the competition. No longer will I endure dated office furniture, bright formica, and corporate logos...I'm cashing my checks at the ASB museum.