An Art*O*Mat is a retired cigarette vending machine transformed into a fine art vending machine. It’s stocked with miniature works of art (neither dangerous to your health nor to be avoided by pregnant women), many of the objects made by Virginia artists. Tokens can be purchased at the reception desk for $5. Just think, a $5 token, the agony of choosing, the thrill of pulling the knob, and you’re a collector of an original work of art. A matchbox-size bronze sculpture of a logging truck made by a group of 18 artists working near the town of Kumasi in Ghana, or a ring of green beads made by Japanese artist Naoko Higashi, are just two examples of what you’ll find in an Art*O*Mat. Proceeds from the sale of these items will benefit the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts as well as the contributing artists.
Founded in 1997, Artists in Cellophane is an arts group led by Clark Whittington that converts retired cigarette vending machines into fine art vending machines. Currently, there are 71 active machines in locations including the Rocky Mount Arts Center, Brennan Children’s Hospital, and the Whitney Museum of Art. The Art*O*Mat has been reviewed in numerous publications including Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times.
This is the Art-o-mat: an antique cigarette dispenser that has been repurposed to dispense adorable pieces of artwork instead. Each piece costs $5 and is roughly the size of a business card; an affordable, hand-held treasure to give your friends and family with which they can decorate their homes or offices. The artwork featured in the Art-o-mat is provided by artists near and far, with many different forms of art to be seen. To learn more about Art-o-mat, visit: www.artomat.org.
Four hundred artists from ten different countries are currently involved in Art*O*Mat projects
The LCVA is a 20,000-square-foot exhibition center featuring two rotating galleries that have shown works of worldwide importance, including the award-winning Reflecting Centuries of Beauty: The Rowe Collection of Chinese Art, the nationally traveled Pre-Columbian Art from the Mississippi Museum of Art, and a steady stream of solo and group exhibitions for nationally known artists such as Faith Ringgold, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Lesley Dill, David Macaulay, and Kojo Griffin.
The LCVA also dedicates one gallery to a permanent exhibition of stunning African art, part of the Ziegler and Brumfield Collections of African Art. In 1997 Robert Ziegler, a longtime resident of Africa, established this collection with twenty-six important pieces. In 1999, Thomas and Donna Brumfield donated an additional eighty-eight works of African art. The collection includes an impressive array of statues, masks, drums, baskets, and garments, covering four geographical areas, twelve countries, and twenty-seven cultures. A catalog of this collection, Telling Objects: African Art from the Permanent Collection of the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, is available.