This New Vending Machine Dispenses Art

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Connor White

Institute Communications

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When most people think of vending machines, they think of snacks. But this year a team of Georgia Tech librarians and staff brought in one that dispenses something very different: works of art.

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When most people think of vending machines, they think of snacks. But this year a team of Georgia Tech librarians and staff brought in one that dispenses something very different: works of art.

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  • Art-o-mat Art-o-mat
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When most people think of vending machines, they think of snacks. But this year a team of Georgia Tech librarians and staff brought in one that dispenses something very different: works of art.

Clark Whittington, an artist from North Carolina, took an old, discontinued cigarette vending machine and filled it with his art. After seeing how successful his machine was, he decided to spread what he called Art-o-mats throughout the country and fill them with the work of local artists.

Once Alison Valk, a librarian at Georgia Tech, found out about the project, she immediately wanted to bring it to Tech’s campus.

“One of my passion projects is exposing students to the arts, especially public art,” Valk said. “I’m always looking out for opportunities to bring more arts to campus.” The effects of the machine are already being seen. Just while loading it, multiple people talked to Valk about their experiences with Art-o-mats. There is something about the space-themed, vintage vending machine that draws people in. Students walk by to get coffee and stop to observe the new machine, located on the first floor of the Price Gilbert Library near Blue Donkey Coffee.

The artwork in the machines ranges from circuit board jewelry to small paintings or prints, and all artwork can be sent to the company that maintains Art-o-mats. They will review the work and determine if it will be placed in machines across the globe. Valk is hopeful this Library initiative will inspire students to think creatively. It is a way to promote the humanities on campus and allow students to showcase their talents, and the broad range of art lets any student combine their passions with the Art-o-mat.

In time, the Library will offer workshops encouraging students to create their own prototypes. This is part of a larger initiative to bring new programming to the Library.

“The Art-o-mat is a concept that started small and grew to something with a much larger reach,” Valk said. “The Library hopes this resonates with Tech students. The machine is already inspiring new programming here through upcoming workshops in Spring 2022.” Though the art is small, it could have a big impact.

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  • Created By: cwhite324
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Nov 28, 2021 - 11:19am
  • Last Updated: Dec 7, 2021 - 11:03am