Vending machines. Wait! Before you start cursing under your breath about the one in the cafeteria, the huge electronic vault of junk food that swallowed your 60p and left that pathetic bag of McCoy’s hanging on its corkscrewed hook like a metaphor for your morning. Think back to the days of the bubblegum vendors, where one modest coin and a twist of mechanical simplicity would deposit a chewy filling extractor into your grubby, grass-stained palm.
It’s the latter kind of vending machines that we are enjoying here, this time dispensing a bit of art encased in its plastic pod – much better in respect of the teeth, the waistline and the soul than the modern version. Woolgather’s Art Vend offers a miniature piece of work from a UK-wide list of artists for £1 a pop, with the proceeds going back into commissioning new works. The machines are currently dotted around Leeds, having received help from Leeds Inspired, Leeds City Council and East Street Arts as well as the businesses that are making room for them, but there are plans to expand to other locations following huge initial success; more than 1,000 pieces have been sold so far. Watch this space for more details.