At WSU, an ex-cigarette machine that sells art

Mar 26, 2013

Washington State University now has its own cigarette machine, but it doesn't sell smokes.

Instead, the Art-o-mat vends artworks at $5 each. The machine aims to make art more accessible and affordable.

The vending machine is one of many that sold cigarettes in a past life, but had retired when they found a second calling. Artist Clark Whittington, “who had a Pavlovian reaction to the crinkle of cellophane,” converted the machine to showcase and promote original works of art, according to

“We believe that art should be progressive, yet personal and approachable. What better way to do this, than with a heavy cold steel machine?” says the project's website.

The art-dispensing machine will sit inside the Compton Union Building Art Gallery on WSU’s campus. Its offerings include a variety of small artworks, from prints to figurines, to bottle toppers, to jewelry.

Western Washington already has its on Art-o-mat machine, which can be found at Venue, a boutique store in Ballard.

More than 100 machines around the U.S. feature works by approximately 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries.