Artmats: Innovative vending machines bringing Czech art to the masses

Refurbished vending machines across Czechia make art available for as little as CZK 50 per piece. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 04.08.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 04.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A creative revolution is taking root in Prague, with refurbished cigarette vending machines transformed into art dispensers called Artmats that now grace three locations within the city. The latest was unveiled at the end of July in the vibrant Holešovice.

Artmats offer an unparalleled opportunity to own art crafted by talented Czech artists. The project is the brainchild of art curators Josefina Frýbová and Petra Widžová. Inside each Artmat, a treasure trove of artistic expressions awaits, ranging from thought-provoking paintings to intricate sculptures. Owning a piece of Czech art has never been more accessible, with prices starting at CZK 50 for a box. For those seeking larger or more exclusive pieces, there is a CZK 100 option.

Frýbová and Widžová personally curate limited editions of artworks. They have breathed life into other artistic endeavors as well such as the Open Ateliers festival and the Galerie Vitríny Frýdlantská in Prague 8.

The allure of Artmats doesn't end with the purchasing experience. Patrons can select a specific artist or for those who relish surprises, there is a random selection option. People who find duplicates can connect via social networks to try to swap. Many of the pieces are originals, often graced with the artist's signature or limited edition numbering, making them collector's items.

Vending machines spreading across Europe

Currently, Prague boasts Artmats on trendy Krymská Street, at Kasárna Karlín, and the avant-garde Cross Club in Holešovice. Art enthusiasts can also discover these machines in Pilsen, Humpolec, and Brno. Beyond Czechia, they can be found in Paris, Tbilisi, Berlin, and soon in Milan.

The vending machine contents rotate, ensuring that each visit promises fresh discoveries. Those eager to explore the latest offerings can find them on the project's official website, an online gallery that mirrors the enchanting experience of standing before these artistic automatons.

Artmats carve a unique niche by bringing art to the masses. The curators have not only redefined the way we acquire art but have also ignited a fire of creativity that blurs the lines between artistic expression and everyday life. With each dispensed box, Artmats beckon us to embrace the unexpected, to hold within our hands not just art, but a piece of Czech culture.

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