September 08, 2010

Small change can get you handmade art at library

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A whole lot of little bitty. That is “Centsation” -- a unique art display under way in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library Art Rotunda.

Megan Lotts, assistant professor and fine arts librarian, created the exhibit featuring about 1,700 miniature, one-of-a-kind drawings and sculptures. The artworks depict architecture, food, landscapes, maps, and much more. There are sculpture magnets and “smallies” of all kinds. Each of the colorful pieces of art is different than all the rest. Lotts created each by hand using markers, pens, pencils, watercolors and other assorted mediums.

Each is in a little plastic canister inside a coin-operated “candy” vending machine. Insert change and see what surprise artwork pops out. There’s a no returns, no refunds and no exchanges policy but where else can you find handmade art for just a few cents? Find out more about Lotts and her work at

The exhibit runs through Sept. 30. Visitors can actually purchase any of the pieces for just a quarter or 50 cents. Lotts, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in public arts and installation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the proceeds will go toward a “fun” future exhibit or activity at Morris Library. “Centsation” will move on to the University of Wisconsin after leaving Carbondale.

Lotts said Morris Library welcomes showings for other artists as well. The Morris Library Art Rotunda is a great location for showcasing local talent, she notes. For more information about “Centsation” or showing your work in the Morris Library Art Rotunda, contact Lotts at 618/453-2663 or by e-mail at