HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Saenger Theater is the first place in Mississippi to install an Art-O-Mat, a repurposed cigarette vending machine that dispenses small pieces of original art for $5 each.
North Carolina artist Clark Whittington came up with the idea 20 years ago as a way to sell photos at an art show.
“It’s so cool, so cool, it’s going out to my baby, her birthday was this week,” Rita Thomas said. “She’s going to love this.”
Since then, they’ve been placed in museums and hotels around the world.
There are currently 250 of them in the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
“Now you can be as addicted to this as you were its predecessor, but your money doesn’t go up in smoke,” Rick Taylor, Executive Director Hattiesburg Convention Commission said. “Half of it, 2.50, goes to the artist, one dollar goes to the Art-O-Mat organization and then, a 1.50 goes to the host organization, which is the Saenger Theater.”
The machines accept tokens, which can be purchased at the Saenger box office.