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Art For the Masses

May 7, 2009
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Posted by Cara McKinley

As a fan of designer Marian Bantjes’ work, I often frequent her web site to see what new and inspiring things she’s working on. She recently posted about a project for PennySmash, an art initiative in Toronto. You know those machines at the zoo where you put a penny in and crank, and you receive back a flattened copper oval with an alligator or elephant on it? Well PennySmash is just like that, but instead you’re getting your own little piece of art! Marian Bantjes is currently one of several artist to have created a design for this machine. There’s something so pleasant about exchanging a couple dollars and a penny in return for a token of creativity, yours to keep or regift or do what you like. This reminds me of a similar venture I encountered in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center – the Art-o-Mat. Art-o-Mat outfits old cigarette vending machines to also sell small pieces of art. For the same price as a pack of cigarettes, you can take home a piece of art from a local artist. I took a look at their locations page, and as it turns out, there is an Art-o-Mat machine in St. Louis’ own COCA! I’ll definitely have to check it out.

Art by Shawn Hazen, 'Empathy' penny by Marian Bantjes

Art by Shawn Hazen, 'Empathy' penny by Marian Bantjes

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