Vending machine in Little Italy distributes original artwork


Porto Vista Hotel unveils its latest lobby vending machine on Thursday, but don’t expect to find snacks or sodas stocked on the shelves.

Instead, the Little Italy hotel has partnered with 1805 Gallery to present Correspondence, a vending machine group art exhibition. In lieu of food or drink behind the glass, original artwork will be available to purchase with a click of a few buttons.

The exhibition is curated by 1805 Gallery Director Lauren Siry, who also serves as the Art Program Director at Porto Vista Hotel. Siry, who grew up in North County and now lives in Little Italy, wants hotel guests to check out of the hotel with more than just a memory, as well as encourage them to take home a piece of the city that isn’t a typical souvenir.

Ranging from $5-$150, all artwork will be displayed 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Nov. 2. Each piece connects to the Correspondence theme through the local artist’s signature style.

Correspondence explores forms of communication and exchange networks and is a nod to the vending machine’s historical roots,” she said, adding that the first vending machines in the late 1800s originally dispensed postcards and stationary.

Though handmade postcards and poems are included in the exhibit, the rows are also lined with paintings, drawings, sculptures and sound works from 40 featured artists.

In addition to sharing San Diego culture with tourists, Siry also hopes the unique exhibit makes the art world more accessible to locals and visitors alike.

“For those who have walked into an art gallery feeling intimidated, the vending machine offers an informal platform and introduction to museum-quality works of art,” she continued.

A champagne reception will kick off the exhibition on Thursday, June 20. In addition to previewing the exhibit, guests are can engage in interactive installments offered by artists Hillery Kemp and Kevin Devaney.

All guests may reserve their spots online for free admission, and the first 50 individuals to RSVP will receive a complimentary drink.

Correspondence Artist Reception

When: 6-9 p.m., June 20
Where: Porto Vista Hotel, 1835 Columbia St., Little Italy