Art-o-mat: Savor the Flavor of Original Art
What is Art-o-mat? Simply described, it is a recycled cigarette vending machine which has been converted into an original artwork dispensing appliance. The mission behind the Art-o-mat is as equally simple - yet elegant: to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form. The mission also asserts that art should be progressive yet personable and approachable.
That assertion has continued since the original Art-o-mat experience was founded back in 1997 by artist Clark Whittington of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Upon receiving an old cigarette vending machine prior to an art show at a local café, Clark came upon the idea of filling the machine with his artwork as part of the gallery show. It soon became one of his most successful art selling experiences. After the gallery show was over, the owner of the café asked that the machine remain. Unsure about being able to produce enough work to keep the machine stocked with original art pieces, Clark was introduced to artists who had an interest in being contributors. A new collaboration of artists was born.
Today more than 400 artist are producing artwork for over 90 active Art-o-mat machines located throughout the U.S. and around the world.
The Visual Arts Center of Richmond (formerly known as the Hand Workshop) houses the first permanent Art-o-mat in Virginia. During a recent Art & Coffee event hosted at the center, artist Alyssa Salomon gave a visual presentation on the history of the Art-o-mat. Caroline Cobb Wright, Director of Exhibition Programming, introduced Alyssa to a full house of attendees, curious to learn more about the Art-o-mat. Below is an audio excerpt from that presentation.
The Visual Arts Center is celebrating their 10th anniversary of hosting the Art-o-mat in-house. Stop by 1812 West Main Street in Richmond -- trade in an Abe for some tokens -- go over to the Art-o-mat -- drop'em in -- select your artwork -- then ‘Savor the Flavor’ of original art.
Find out more including how to become a contributing artist by visiting the Art-o-mat website.