Awesome Tampa Bay: Art Vending Machines Take Arts To People

Artists in Tampa Bay will soon have an additional platform to make their work more accessible to the public. Daniel Markovich, the most recent winner of Awesome Tampa Bay's microgrants program, is transforming dated novelty sticker vending machines into portable dispensers that will include things like prints, sticker art and photography created by local artists.

"Art plays a huge role in the culture of a city,'' says Markovich, owner and designer for Etchd Unlimited. "With so many talented people very often overlooked, I sought out to find a way to help distribute their work that is fun, affordable and engaging.''
The inspiration for the project came from Markovich's own experiences at art shows, where he always wanted to take something home with him but found the price tags on most pieces to be out of his range. The vending machines will provide a way for those on a limited budget to access local artwork.
Awesome Tampa Bay is an independent, self-funded community of philanthropists that aims to further Tampa Bay's awesomeness through the quarterly distribution of $1,000 microgrants. The grants are provided with no strings attached and no claims of ownership over the projects, giving the recipients more control and free range than with traditional grant programs.

"We select projects based on multiple criteria but specifically those that can have a big impact with a micro grant; Daniel's project does just that,'' says Razi Amador, dean of awesomeness for Awesome Tampa Bay. "It gives local artists visibility and local venues a chance to participate in the arts movement in a unique way, and we think that is awesome.''

The application deadline for the next Awesome Tampa Bay grant is February 1.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Razi Amador, Awesome Tampa Bay
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A Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident, Megan Hendricks graduated from the University of South Florida with a master's degree in business administration. She worked at the USF College of Business and has extensive community experience including the Tampa Bay Partnership's Talent Dividend Advisory Board, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa Bay, Ekhos, and Bar Camp Tampa. She is a former board member and newsletter editor for Creative Tampa Bay. Megan enjoys telling the stories that make Tampa Bay a unique, diverse cultural experience.