Photo by Libby Zay

Art:  sometimes it costs $250 million and you hire an armed guard to watch over it all day. And sometimes it costs $5, is the size of a pack of cigarettes, and is as easy to obtain as a bag of chips. At least that’s the goal of MICA’s new Art-o-mat, a vending machine that makes it easy to impulse-buy a bit of creativity.

The machine is stocked with mini-zombies, pocket-sized nuns, and heart-shaped engagement rings. The project, part of a larger collection of Art-o-mats across the world, doesn’t only make art an affordable piece of daily life, it’s also a simple way for artists to start figuring out how to make money from their work. MICA’s Art-o-mat originated as a project within the graduate Business of Art and Design program, one of many efforts by the art school to make sure artists are taking steps to earn a living from their creative pursuits.

The Art-o-mat is located in MICA’s Fox Building (1303 Mt. Royal Avenue). But hurry:  the first batch of Pocket Nuns already sold out.