Week Fifty Two

Art-O-Mat in Omaha

Posted in Art news by sarahbakerhansen on 23 March 2010




Above, Art-O-Mats in Chattanooga, TN; Washington, D.C; and Malta, IL. Photos courtesy of artomat.org.

Whenever I get an e-mail from Scott Blake, it usually means he’s up to something new. I got one earlier this week and it was no exception. Our local bar code artist is playing host to an Art-O-Mat machine in Omaha this summer. Art-O-Mats are retired cigarette vending machines repurposed to vend art. More than 80 machines are installed in venues around the U.S. and around 400 artists – Blake included – submit original artwork that people can buy from the machines. Blake sells his bar code temporary tattoos in the machines.

The machines vend all sorts of interesting stuff. A quick survey of some of the contributing artists’ items included toys, miniature portraits, puzzles, tiny ceramic bowls and wooden boxes.

Omaha’s machine will travel around to different locations and will begin vending art this June in the Bemis Underground. The Omaha Art-O-Mat will have a black and white paint job with red pinstripes, inspired by Blake’s bar code works. He’s looking for local artists who want to put art in the vending machine. There’s a few submission guidelines, and interested artists can contact Blake.

“I’m obviously biased but I still highly recommend the project,” Blake wrote. “I think it would be cool to fill up our machine with all Omaha artists.”

I do, too.


6 Responses

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  1. Sally Deskins said, on 23 March 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Very cool; I’m curious to see where else the machines will be placed — just in galleries or other less “artsy” places?

  2. Sarah Baker-Hansen said, on 23 March 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t know where else the machine will be. I’ll ask Scott to post here if he has other places lined up.

  3. Scott Blake said, on 23 March 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I am open to suggestion for places to park the ART-O-MAT machine around Omaha. In addition to artsy places like galleries, museums, and theaters I’d like to try it out in coffee houses, restaurants, and bars. Let me know if you think of a place.

  4. James said, on 23 March 2010 at 10:55 pm

    When I went to work for Whole Foods they had one in the lobby. The artwork is the size of a cigarette pack and is very nice.

  5. Gini said, on 24 March 2010 at 11:11 am

    I bet the Brothers bar would like to have it for a bit. I predict I’m going to be spending a lot of money on this machine….The Kent Bellows studio on 33rd and Leavenworth might be good too. Lots of art students who would delight over something like this.

  6. Sally Deskins said, on 30 March 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Bring it out West once! the Metro Elkhorn campus gallery would love it – the art teachers are based there. I also like the grocery store- catch people way off guard – but not sure how sales would do. Look forward to hearing more about it!

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