The Museum for Art in Wood’s new sculpture dispenses art-filled gumballs

Museum for Art in Wood
Marshall James Kavanaugh is pictured.

Later this month, The Museum for Art in Wood‘s collaboration with acclaimed poet and multi-platform artist founder LindoYes will be unveiled—and it’ll be distributing art-filled gumballs to those who stop by.

The new Gumball Machine sculpture will be on display and free to view at the venue from April 27 to Dec. 31 of this year, and it was created by local artist Jesse Rinyu.

What Philadelphians will find when they interact with the fully mechanized robot-like artwork is that it really acts like it looks: The sculpture dispenses unique walnut shell capsules made by artist Jennifer Eckenrode, and each walnut can be opened to reveal a two-sided slip of paper with an original poem composed by LindoYes and information for free local social services and mental health hotline numbers.

Museum for Art in Wood
Mental health advocate Josh Smith is pictured. PROVIDED / MUSEUM FOR ART IN WOOD

The walnuts are returned by placing them into the robot’s mouth, where it’ll fall into an internal storage space and they are then refilled with a fresh poem and added back into rotation, a release notes. This particular piece is part of The Gumball Machine Project, which was created in 2022 by LindoYes to give the community a chance to experience not just the arts and poetry, but mental health services as well.

Similar Gumball sculptures can be found throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey, including in the Bok Building, The Painted Bride Arts Center, and The Philadelphia Liberation Center — and all are unique in what they look like and what they hold. The outside of each machine is hand-painted and decorated by members of its community and each holds up to 200 capsules with unique poems.

Museum for Art in Wood
LindoYes is pictured.Angel Perez / PROVIDED / MUSEUM FOR ART IN WOOD

The new wood sculpture at the Museum for Art in Wood, however, marks an evolution in the Gumball Machine Project, deviating from the usual decorated repurposed machines to offer audiences a new experience, the release notes.

“Working with the Museum for Art in Wood on the Poetry Gumball Machine Project has expanded the possibilities of inter-community work and fostered unexpected conversations at the intersection of public care, woodworking, and literary art in a creative environment,” said LindoYes in a statement.

“Combining these art forms together while addressing accessibility to mental wellness is a very important aspect of this ongoing project, which draws attention to an urgent social issue. Because admission to the museum is free to the public, offering the Poetry Gumball Machine as a part of the experience will allow art to teach us about caring for others.”

Philadelphians can see everything first hand at the venue’s unveiling later this month on April 27, and the event will feature performances by LindoYes, Philadelphia-based folk/R&B duo Dani & Joe, R&B singer/songwriter Matthew Edwards, Philadelphia-based dream laborer and performance poet Marshall James Kavanaugh, poet, speaker, and mental health advocate Josh Smith, and author and poet Patricia Wood. Doors to the museum open at 6 p.m., with performances starting at 6:30 p.m.

Museum for Art in Wood

Those who can’t make it out that night are in luck though—the museum will host a series of free community events and programming around the Gumball Machine throughout 2024. More information can be found online.

To find out more about the Museum for Art in Wood (141 N 3rd St.,) visit