Up-and-coming artists have a unique venue to promote their work – a vending machine at the Lowe Art Museum.
Visitors can purchase a small wooden sculpture, painting or drawing for $5 at the machine, dubbed the Art-o-Mat. Students can now submit work to be considered for the machine. The submission form is available at artomat.org.
The Lowe’s store manager, Lorrie Stassum, is unsure how many art pieces have been sold since it was installed three to four years ago. However Stassum said the machine has been successful.
According to Brian Dursum, the director and chief curator of the Lowe Art Museum, about 65 cents of every $5 spent go to the museum. The remainder goes to the artist and taxes.
“It’s just a fun thing that people like,” he said.
Sophomore Hadley Jordan, a studio art and visual journalism, said that she would be more inclined to contribute her artwork if the profits went to a good cause, such as raising money to promote arts in the public school system.
“If all of the artists are receiving $4.35 for their pieces, that’s not enough to make a difference in their bank account,” she said. “If all the money is pooled in the same place, though, and goes to a good cause, that is a better use of resources and gives more incentive to donate art.”
The Art-o-Mat was first created by Clark Whittington in 1997. Whittington wanted to have a unique, solo art show, and decided to use an empty cigarette machine to create the first ever Art-o-Mat. He never realized his idea would eventually catch on and be used in venues across the nation.
“It just kind of grew and had a life of its own, naturally,” Whittington said.
Student work is on sale in many Art-o-Mat machines. The most active student group is from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
“We encourage more and more people to get involved,” Whittington said. “Usually we can find a home for just about anyone’s work.”
Freshman Talia Touboul believes that having artwork in the Art-o-Mat would be a great way to get a student artist’s name out there. However, she sees a drawback.
“Besides Brito and Andy Warhol, mass production of a painting isn’t always the way to go to keep value at its highest,” she said.