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Making Art For The Masses

Art-O-Mat by Clark Whittington
Courtesy of Clark Whittington
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Art-O-Mat by Clark Whittington

Clark Whittington never set out to secure a spot in a famous art museum. The Winston-Salem artist instead dreamed of creating art for the masses. 20 years ago he repurposed old cigarette vending machines to sell and distribute pocket-sized black-and-white photographs.

Whittington called it the Art-o-mat, and throughout the years the project grew to include Art-o-mat machines that gave out work made by other artists. His approach to art distribution caught on. His work has been installed in museums like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Host Frank Stasio talks with Whittington about putting art in people’s pockets. “20 Years of Art-o-mat” is on display at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem through Sunday, Aug. 27.  

Stasio also talks with Greensboro-based artist Caroline Armijo. She is developing a public art project called “Lilies of the Field” in Walnut Cove, North Carolina that will repurpose coal ash to create large lily flower petals. She is a finalist for the ArtsPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.