Vending machine full-o-art at Kansas City Int’l Airport

Here’s a fun new airport amenity that should soon spread to more airports around the country: Kansas City International Airport has a vending machine that dispenses locally made art and souvenirs.

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Curated by SouveNEAR, a company that produces and sells authentic local goods, the machine is located in the Southwest Airlines area of KCI’s Terminal B and is stocked with jewelry, original art, small-batch hand-printed T-shirts and a wide array of travel-sized mementos by Kansas City-based artists and makers.

Prices range from $2.50 to about $40.

SouveNEAR co-founders Suzanne Southard and Tiffany King spent months surveying art going on around Kansas City at galleries, art fairs, and indie craft shows and travelled to other cities to see what people are making to help them figure out what they wanted the collection to look like. “In some cases,” when we really liked artists but their existing offerings couldn’t fit our machine, we worked with them to develop items specifically for SouveNEAR,” Southard and King said via email.

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The art-filled vending machine has been in place at KCI for just about month, but sales have been so strong – and response from travelers and artists so positive – that SouveNEAR is already planning to add additional machines at KCI and to install new machines at other airports around the country.

“Finding meaningful souvenirs is always a challenge, especially when you’re rushing to find something at the last minute,” said Southard. “We want to provide a convenient way for people to get mementos that are artistic and that have a real connection to the city.”