With a ban on cigarette machines, one company decided to put all the old vending machines to good use by dispensing art. The Art-o-mat has been around for quite some time, 1997 to be more precise. Creator Clark Whittington was struck with inspiration after receiving a recently banned cigarette machine. Being a creative artist, he thought it a wise to turn the machine into a dispenser for his own art at a show and put 12 of his own paintings in the machine, selling them for $1 each. After the art show, the director asked for the machine to be a permanent exhibit. Whittington called on other artists to get involved with the project. Today there are over 100 Art-o-mats across the country.
The latest art vending machine can be found in Buckhannon, West Virginia –the first in the state. The machine resides in the lobby of the Bicentennial Inn on Main Street. Local architect Bryson VanNostrand got a taste of the machine located in the Whitney Museum in NYC and immediately knew he had to bring this creation to his hometown. He got his hands on an early 1960s cigarette machine. It is currently filled with art from a number of artists, selling for $5 a piece.
This is a beautiful way to utilize creative and artful vending machines and bring art into the lives of many. Kudos to the Art-o-mat!