Around Town | Art

The Art-O-Mat Comes Back

A vintage cigarette machine takes on a new life as an art dispensing Art-O-Mat


Once upon a time RI’s only Art-O-Mat resided on Main Street in Wakefield at a little art shop named Argentum. Glass and jewelry artist Luisa DeLuca sponsored one of the vintage cigarette machines turned art dispensers there until she closed her store during the recession. She then tucked it away at Paper Nautilus Books in Providence and concentrated selling her wares on Etsy and in other local shops.

The concept of the Art-O-Mat is the brainchild of North Carolina-based artist Clark Whittington. He restored an old, recently banned cigarette machine and turned it into a dispenser of his work for a 1997 solo show. It proved so popular that Whittington and a group of artists formed Artists in Cellophane and today there are 100 colorful machines dispensing the original art of 400 artists from around the world for only $5-$7.

Having pined to have the Art-O-Mat back home, Luisa found a local store to be the perfect fit for the fun machine. Painted Karma, whose mission is to restore and repurpose vintage items, is the new host of the vintage and repurposed machine. Stop in, pull the lever and get a healthy dose of art. Sounds like karma to me. 22 Kersey Road, Wakefield. 789-4536,