A new exhibition, "Imprints - Impressions - Improvisations," is on display at the Cabarrus Arts Council Galleries in Cabarrrus County's historic 1876 courthouse in Concord.
The exhibition includes paintings, prints, sculpture, pottery and an old cigarette vending machine refurbished into an "Art-O-Mat" that dispenses original works of art for $5 each.
The "Art-O-Mat" is the brainchild of Clark Whittington, a native of Cabarrus County and graduate of Central Cabarrus High School. Whittington said his inspiration came from a friend who had a Pavlovian reaction to crinkling cellophane: When his friend heard someone opening a snack, he had the uncontrollable urge to have one, too.
In 1997 Whittington had a solo show at Penny Universitie Café in Winston-Salem and came up with the idea of refurbishing a cigarette machine that sold art, wrapped in cellophane, of course. When the show ended, the owner wanted to keep the machine. It is still in its original location, now known as Mary's Of Course Café.
Today more than 90 machines around the world sell the work of more than 400 artists. Whittington said his goal with "Art-O-Mat" is to encourage art consumption by combining the worlds of art and commerce in an innovative form.
The Art-O-Mat at the Galleries is one of the first ones made. It offers nine artistic choices: a wooden sculpture, a painting with easel, earrings, purse notepad, pinhole camera with photograph, earthenware keychain, origami and "bronzes by the quality individual."
Artists represented include Sarah Whittington, Clark Whittington's mother, plus others from Ghana, Wisconsin, Florida and California. The choices may change as the machine sells out of pieces.
The exhibition brings together 18 artists who use impressed designs, traditional impressionistic approaches or improvisation in their work.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and on May 7. Admission is free.
The Galleries also will be open 6-9 p.m. April 15 for the downtown Concord Art Walk.For more information, call 704-920-2787 (704-920-ARTS) or visit www.CabarrusArtsCouncil.org.