“No-Smoking” with an Artistic Twist

Art-O-Mat® combines commerce and contemporary art-collecting
Salina, Kan. (Oct. 30, 2017) The Salina Art Center will unveil Art-O-Mat® on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. to First Friday art enthusiasts who visit the main galleries in downtown Salina.

The creations of artist Clark Whittington, these vintage cigarette vending machines are repurposed to sell original contemporary art for only $5 per piece. The mission of the Art-O-Mat project is to encourage art consumption by expanding access to artists’ work. Art-O-Mat® believes that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable.

The restored machines themselves are visually engaging. There are over 100 active machines in various locations throughout the country involving approximately 400 contributing artists from ten different countries. The Salina Art Center will offer professional development to encourage local and regional artists to participate by contributing works to be sold in Salina and throughout the network.

“The art in the machines aren’t mass produced trinkets,” says Bill North executive director of the Salina Art Center, “they are original works of art that are cigarette pack sized.” The machines contain all types of work; oil paintings to clay figures.

By purchasing a $5 token at the Art Center, anyone can begin collecting original contemporary art. These tiny artworks are sweeping the country. A summer long exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC, shared hundreds of mini art pieces, including limited edition multiples and several machines, as part of a twenty-year retrospective of Art-O-Mat®.

Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what your art piece will look like since each piece is an original work. The price, size, and collectability create a venue for everyone to become an art collector. For a complete list of where to find Art-O-Mat® machines visit www.artomat.org.

All proceeds from Art-O-Mat® machines are shared between the artist, the Art-O-Mat® organization, and the Salina Art Center. However, artists would tell you it isn’t about the money. “They enjoy having their work distributed in the machines. Artists sometimes develop a following and have the opportunity to share their larger works, giving them exposure they might not have otherwise had,” says North.

Art-O-Mat® at the Salina Art Center has been supported by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation Community Grant Fund, a fund at the Greater Salina Community Foundation. The Art Center main galleries are open Wednesday – Saturday from noon-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Tokens for Art-O-Mat® can be purchased during regular gallery hours.

For additional information or to schedule an interview or follow-up story, please contact media@salinaartcenter.org

Full size images available by contacting aengstrom@salinaartcenter.org