This week I am going to write of one “small” act of kindness every day. Lately I have been lax in noticing kindness, and I think by taking time to sit down and think about, then tell you about one seemingly tiny act of kindness given or received everyday, I will get back into the groove of being alert and receptive to kindness. And I hope the stories of “little” kindnesses will help you to be more alert and notice them in your lives, too.
Art-O-Mats*, if you have never been lucky enough to happen upon one, are old cigarette machines repurposed to dispense ART. I am kinda sorta in love with Art-O-Mats. We have one in DC at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, and I am a huge fan of it!!! Anytime I take a visitor to that museum I make sure to take them to the out-of-the-way room that houses the Art-O-Mat, and I try and make sure my enthusiasm is clear and contagious so that they will invest in art!!
The thing about Art-O-Mats is, see, they are a SURPRISE!! You put your money in, then choose a knob to pull, and bam, just like that, your little piece of real live art pops out! You can have a general sense of what you are getting – there is one little space for the artist to “advertise” their work, but trust me, it is a total crap shoot. (Side note: once my sister Sherry and I laughed soooo hard we cried when the art I got turned out to be, well, not really something we thought was attractive… That artwork is now proudly displayed on our mantle. Another Art-O-Mat piece hangs in our hallway.)
|Art-O-Mat in DC|
|My sister and I examining our choices...|
Anyway, recently we went to the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida and I was thrilled to see an Art-O-Mat!!!! I got the required token ($5) from the gift shop and headed back to the machine to make my big decision on which knob to pull!
When I got there, 2 young girls were also intrigued by the machine. “You have to get a token!! You put it in there!!! Then you pull a handle!!!!!” they excitedly told me. “I know! Isn’t it great???” I replied. The three of us nervously examined all of the choices – it is so hard to pick! One girl really thought I should invest in the “mystery” choice – whose only “sneak peek” was a bunch of question marks… But I had my heart set on a Florida artist, and I didn’t know where the question mark artist was from, so I moved on…
I finally decided I wanted to pull the knob of the art whose provocation was “Wednesdsay: Washday, World’s Smallest Solar Dryer” crafted by Washday Miracle Clark Houck from Deland, Florida. (The fine print said, “Wow is it tiny!” 😊 ) My two new friends were happy with that choice. I put in my token. And let me just tell you, those two little girls and I were psyched!!
|Can't you just feel the excitement???|
Then I decided to let the little girls pull the knob for me.
Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot to you. And I agree, it is not a huge thing.
But, for me, it was a tiny act of kindness. Cuz, let me just be honest here, I really wanted to pull that knob myself… I don’t have kids, and I guess I am a pretty independent person. And really, the fun part of Art-O-Mat machines is pulling that knob and seeing your artwork pop out… But those little girls deserved that fun, too, so I was happy to say, “Do you want to pull the knob for me??”.
Well, I thought they would pull it together, but it turns out the older sister was maybe a bit bossy, so she pulled that sucker out on her own, which was fine, the younger girl was happy just to be a part of it all I guess. And that older girl quickly ripped the box holding my artwork opened, and the three of us smiled and marveled at what was revealed: it was indeed the world’s smallest solar dryer!!!!
Isn’t it fabulous?
|Look!!! It is the World's Smallest Solar Dryer! Thanks, Clark Houck! It is terrific.|
|Close up, with hand for size :)|
* In writing this piece I did a bit of Googling and found some info on Art-O-Mati. You can learn more about them here: http://www.artomat.org/
Keep your eyes open for kindness, and keep buying art!