This retro cigarette machine hands out $ 10 artwork from the creatives of Cleveland



Cigarette machines may be a thing of the past, but Avon artist R! Ch Cihlar has reinvented the relic in a way that feels like a breath of fresh air. Debuting August 29 at Sandusky Cultural Center, the Cleveland Artifact Machine, a restored 1960s cigarette machine, will distribute more than 400 pocket-sized works of art in an innovative exhibit.

“This is a unique exhibition, a little different from other exhibitions”, explains Cihlar, co-owner. E11Even 2 gallery inside 78e Street workshops. “The goal is to bring artists’ work into the community and inspire people who may not have been collectors before to start collecting cheaply. “

This is the third time that Cihlar has partnered with the Sandusky Cultural Center to mount the exhibit, which will feature 21 Ohio-based artists, including Cihlar’s E11Even cohorts Christina Sadowski and Billy Nainiger. Building on the success of the first installment – which sold 75% of its inventory on opening day in 2015 – Cihlar is excited for the third tour. “We are the only show that the Cultural Center has presented twice, let alone three times,” says Cihlar.

For Cihlar and the artists involved, the Cleveland Artifact Machine has truly been a labor of love. While setting up the exhibit, Cihlar worked with his father, a retired mechanic, to repair a dented cigarette machine and give it a fresh coat of automotive paint. Cihlar also congratulates the participating artists on their dedication, each committing to producing 20 pint-sized works of art that match the dimensions of a box of cigarettes (7/8 x 2 1/8 x 3 ¼ ).

“It’s a great mix of mediums, styles and images,” Cihlar explains, adding that the works cover fused glass, small sculptures, paintings, etc. “The name Cleveland Artifact Machine is inspired by the discovery of these great gems of art in Cleveland – a little piece of the spirit of Cleveland, if you will.”

Each coin costs $ 10, and customers also receive a free commemorative coin with their purchase. (Cihlar originally designed the coins to be used as tokens for purchasing the artwork, but later learned that cigarette machines can only accept actual coins.)

Additionally, customers can find a ‘golden ticket’ inside the selected boxes, giving them the option to choose a more expensive piece from the same artist, and there is also a ‘second chance showcase’ in which customers can purchase artwork for $ 20.

“The show almost looks like a carnival – there are many ways to win,” says Cihlar, who also runs the Bérea Arts Festival. “It’s really an immersive experience that involves everyone, whether you’re watching as a viewer or as a customer doing a pull. [from the machine]. “

Cleveland Artifact Machine III takes place August 29 – September 26, 2021 at the Sandusky Cultural Center. An opening event is scheduled for August 29 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Can’t make it to Sandusky? Visit Cihlar’s E11Even 2 gallery to see a machine exclusively showcasing his artwork, or stay tuned for the launch of an all-new Graffiti Heart Machine this fall.


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