Well vending machine to be honest, yet another trendy project designed to bring art to the masses? Perhaps or maybe not this time, for it’s not some gallery or exhibition filled with art or concepts most people have no interest in. This particular project is being tied in with affordable consumerism, or art for a quid as it might be better known as.
It’s an intersteing concept, 30 artists have been commissioned to produce 150 works each. These will be sold via vending machines which have been installed in the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds. Three machines have already been installed and three more are planned in shops and bars throughout the centre. The cost of each item of art will be only a pound each.
There will be quite a variety judging from the press release. Still life lemons the size of a scrabble tile. minitature paintings, tiny sculptures and in one case a rolled up contract to produce a bigger piece of art.
It’s not the first time that shopping centres and art initiatives have come together. In fact in the very same shopping centre in the depth of the recession, some of the empty shopd where used as temporary art galleries. A clothes shop that went under was filled with pictures and sculptures from local artists. The same art collective – Woolgather, was responsible for both of the initiatives.
The scheme was a resounding success and brought some life and excitement to the dull and depressing closed shops. With nearly 10% of the shops empty in many UK areas, then there’s obviously lots of possibilities of similar projects bringing a little colour to the high street and shopping centres. There are also financial benefits with discounts on business rates of 80% being available as opposed to leaving the shops empty.
Many arts organisations are looking at these sort of options, as a way of introducing people to art and also creating a place for smalller artists to exhibit. Many of the organisations are also looking at the internet as a way to display their art and combining with various groups and societies. In Iceland for example there are widespread protests against the Icelandic proxy proposal to implement censorship against pornography online. Artists are joining in at this perceived attack on freedom of thought of expression.