First Art-o-Mat in Boston to Open in New South End Whole Foods

The art vending machine will be the city's first Art-o-Mat.


Find Boston’s first Art-o-Mat at the new South End Whole Foods. /
Artists in Cellophane/Art-o-Mat

Sometimes you never know you needed something until Whole Foods reads your mind and says, “Yes, we will carry 83 percent organic triple French milled soap!”

This week, South End residents have been anxiously awaiting the Saturday opening of a brand-new Whole Foods Market on Harrison Avenue. The new location is even more highly anticipated now that we know there will be an in-store spa and smoothie bar.

But wait, there’s more! The South End Whole Foods will also have Boston’s very Art-o-Mat.


Art-o-Mats are retired cigarette machines that have been converted into art vending machines. They’ve been around since 1997 in places like art museums and other Whole Foods Markets, but the machine at the new South End Whole Foods will be Boston’s first.

Don’t expect a Renoir, but do expect original prints, jewelry, woodworks, and other crafts. Face it—you need this tiny knit octopus:


From left, works by Rebecca Olson, Holly Swenson, and Ernesto Baez. /
Artists in Cellophane/Art-o-Mat


Insert cash, pull lever, enjoy.

Since the machines are reworked cigarette machines, the products are all relatively small items that fit inside or on the face of a box the size of a cigarette pack. Hundreds of artists from around the world are “Artists in Cellophane.” You won’t know exactly what you’re going to get until it’s fed out of the machine, but hey—anything’s better than a pack of cigarettes.


Anyone interested in having their work sold in Art-o-Mats can enter submissions. In their guidelines, Art-o-Mat encourages artists to “think of approaches that do not convey ‘a Sunday afternoon at the copy shop,'” but rather, “consider ways that your art will be appreciated for years to come.”


The new Whole Foods will open Friday at 348 Harrison Ave. Learn more about Art-o-Mat at