Have you heard of the Albino Buffalo art project?

NDSU professor Jeff Knight distributes local artists’ work across ND to address the lack of visitors at art galleries

Remember the vending machines outside stores, selling toys, key chains, stickers and super balls. Maybe you emptied your pockets, searched the floor or begged your parents for a dollar.

A professor from NDSU has repurposed some of these nostalgic contraptions. Since 2014, Jeff Knight, Assistant Professor of Printmaking & Graphic Design, has used them for an art project called Albino Buffalo. Knight aims to distribute local artists’ works to the public, addressing a problem he believes affects the art community: lack of visitors to art galleries.

“I think there’s a big populace that doesn’t go because they haven’t been in a while, or perhaps they have never been.” Knight said. To mitigate people’s discomfort, Knight brings the art gallery to the public as stickers, a popular medium for decorating.

Sets are released semiannually, containing thirty unique stickers, each a work from a regional artist. Seven artists are featured in every set. Stickers are random so that no artist is more popular than another. Within each set is a bonus “golden ticket” which can be sent to Albino Buffalo in exchange for more stickers and other prizes.

Knight encourages artists of all levels to submit work of various mediums: drawings, photography, sculpture, poetry or music. Nearly every medium of art is considered. He manually stuffs the cardboard sleeves housing the stickers, recently spending two days during Winter Break binge-watching Netflix while he sleeved the current Series 12.

Due to their age, the machines can jam, requiring frequent maintenance. Despite the challenges, Knight enjoys the interactive nature of the artform, fulfilled by consumers inserting quarters and receiving work from a local artist. According to the project website, “Albino Buffalo celebrates local art by making it accessible to everyone.”

Born and raised in Moorhead, Knight earned his B.A. from Concordia. After attaining his graduate degree from Savannah College, he returned to Moorhead to teach at Concordia. Before joining the NDSU faculty, he founded a design agency named Cereal, whose tagline is, “We’re just a big heaping bowl of creativity!”

In the winter of 2014, Fargo was abuzz with green and gold, with the Bison heading to Frisco, Texas for the National Championship. Amid the abundance of Bison merchandise, Knight sought a new perspective and Albino Buffalo was born.

Machines are located at Unglued, 701 Eatery and Drekker Brewing. The businesses host the machines at no cost.

Sticker sets and assorted merchandise are available for purchase at www.albino-buffalo.com.

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