Collecting art has never been so easy or fun! Created by artist Clark Whittington in 1997, the Art-o-mat is a vintage cigarette vending machine that has been refurbished and filled with art for sale. Just drop a $5 token in and receive a unique piece of art.
Each artwork is the size of a cigarette carton or smaller. It may be a painting, a photograph, a piece of jewelry. The options are limited only by size.
Approximately 400 artists from 10 different countries provide the art for more than 100 active machines across the country, each with a unique aesthetic. There is currently only one other Art-o-mat in the NY Metro Area (at a bar in Brooklyn). Other locations include museums such as The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as universities and libraries. There are also quite a few unexpected places like grocery stores and taco joints. Meg Rodriguez, Executive Director of The Rye Arts Center, is excited to share the Art-o-mat with Rye, “It’s a clear and strong statement that art is for everyone, and is a healthy alternative to what these machines used to sell.”
The Art-o-mat will be a part of the Small Works Exhibition and Sale but will remain at The Rye Arts Center as a long-term installation. As the miniature masterpieces sell they will be replaced with new $5 treasures. Rodriguez adds, “This exhibition and especially the Art-o-mat remind us that art isn’t simply for museums. You can buy it, enjoy it, gift it, and make it a part of your daily life.”