Newton, NC – To make art more prominent in our local libraries and to provide wider access to the community’s rich arts and culture scene, the Catawba County Library System is launching an Arts @ the Library initiative. The program will introduce people to different styles of art and offer rotating art exhibits, artist receptions, and hands-on workshops for all ages.

The initiative is made possible with a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County and partnerships with the Hickory Museum of Art and the Catawba County Friends of the Library. The Library is also working with both local and regional artists’ collectives to make upcoming programs as robust and as widely appealing as possible.

As a key feature of the program, the Library is installing an Art-o-Mat® in the Main Library in Newton. This distinctive vending machine is a repurposed, vintage cigarette dispenser that will sell small pieces of original art for only $5 each. Not only will it provide access to affordable, high-quality art in the community, but it will also enhance the reach of local artists through Art-o-Mat’s national network.

To celebrate the debut of Arts @ the Library, the Library will host an opening reception at 5:30pm on Thursday, July 12 at the Main Library in Newton. This reception will feature an exhibit called Tiny Art, a presentation by Clark Whittington (the artist/creator of the Art-o-Mat®), an opportunity to learn more about the Artists in Cellophane program (which approves the artwork for sale in the Art-o-Mat®), and a chance for attendees to contribute their painting talents to the creation of a new and unique piece of community art. Light refreshments and live music will also be featured.

Photo: Art-o-Mat®, a repurposed vending machine that will be used to sell art.