Access Gallery & Studio is a part of VSA Colorado, a nonprofit that increases access to the arts for people with disabilities. At Access Gallery & Studio, potential artists learn skills and techniques in various art mediums from painting to photography, decoupage and sculpture.
Damon McLeese is the executive director of VSA Colorado and explained the Art-O-Mat art dispenser, which is the only one in Colorado.
"Accessible, affordable art," McLeese said. "We may have people coming in off the street, people looking for art, they may not want to buy a $500 painting, but they may be interested in a $5 piece of art they can put on their desk or in their car."
The artwork that is stocked in the Art-O-Mat machine is no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, because that is all the old cigarette machine can literally hold. The work is made by national and local artists with disabilities who can then make money off the work they produce.
McLeese says this is a great way for those with disabilities to bring in a small income they may otherwise never see.
"A lot of people in this country with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed," McLeese said. "If we can get these kids coming out of high school - they may or may not be going directly to college, they may or may not be going directly to jobs - we can give them some job skills. Maybe we can reduce the amount of people with disabilities who are unemployed. So a cigarette machine for job training, some people might think it is a big stretch but it is really not."
Access Gallery & Studio sees the most foot traffic from art lovers during First Friday. You can learn all about the art tour by visiting their website: http://www.artdistrictonsantafe.com/events/firstfriday
You can learn more about the gallery and the Art-O-Mat by visiting their website, accessgallery.org
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