Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has installed a repurposed vending machine offering artwork by local artists, as well as art kits, equipment and games.
The Coventry venue claims it is the first art gallery in the country to be home to a vending machine which supplies artwork and materials.
The installation is part of its Work on Walls exhibition, and includes both free and priced items. Revenue taken from the machine going back into supporting the local art scene, the museum said.
The art vending machine was created by Birmingham-based artist Clara Stromeyer, who began the project in 2020 by filling a spare machine from one of her existing businesses with arts and crafts equipment.
“I was volunteering at the time and delivering crafts to people and I had this vending machine in my garage ready to go. So it was a real lightbulb moment ‘why don’t I fill the machine with crafts and put it in my drive?,” said Stromeyer.
“Within a couple of days it had exploded online and hundreds of people were coming every day. Then it was in the media, including on TV.”
The machine now sits on the first floor of the Herbert Art Gallery.
“I still had my initial plan of getting this idea into an actual art gallery, and luckily the Herbert got in touch and here we are,” Stromeyer explained.
“Any artist can take part, no matter how established, so it also gives artists the chance to exhibit their work in an actual gallery, as well as make a small, passive income.”The Events Curator at the Herbert , Kirstie Lewis, was responsible for bringing the machine to the gallery.
Lewis said: “The concept of the machine is so original and unique but the idea behind it – making art accessible while supporting the local art community – is really in line with our values.
“I’m thrilled Clara agreed to let Herbert be the first gallery to have an arts vending machine. It is already proving very popular and requires restocking on a regular basis.”