Hotel McCoy

Imagine a claw machine where the stakes are higher than winning a generic, stuffed bear. 

Instead, your success means going home with a print by a Tucson artist or a locally-made piece of jewelry. 

Starting in March, you'll be able to do just that. 

After all those years at Peter Piper Pizza, THIS is what you have been training for. 

The claw machine will live at Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road, where you'll be able to pay a few dollars (the exact price is still undetermined) for your chance to grab a Tucson creation. 

The hotel currently has a call out for local artists and makers who would like to sell pieces for the claw machine at $5-$10 wholesale per piece. Solid pieces can be no larger than 8x8, but plush pieces can be larger. Small pieces such as jewelry, for example, could be wrapped in bubble wrap to make more accessible to the claw. 

Jessica Flax is designing a claw machine for Hotel McCoy. 

Nicole Dahl, the creative director of Hotel McCoy, hopes to fill the claw machine with a variety of pieces. She envisions playing for a small canvas, a framed piece of poetry, a crocheted cactus or locally-made lotion, for example. 

"At Hotel McCoy, we want people who come here to experience the real Tucson..." Dahl says, adding that the claw machine will give Tucson artists a new outlet for exposure. "We have 150 new people every day rolling in here to see art." 

Dahl says she has long wanted to have a working claw machine full of Tucson art at the hotel. Over the summer, Hotel McCoy purchased a Tucson-themed vending machine from local artist Jessica Flax. 

For an art installation at the MSA Annex over the summer, Flax filled the vending machine with Tucson-y items such as dried creosote, a coyote skull, a Monsoon Chocolate bar and more. You'll now find that vending machine — which doesn't work, by the way — at Hotel McCoy.

For the claw machine, Flax says she is going for a futuristic, space ship vibe — "neo-retro futuristic shrine" is how she describes it. 

"I like the idea of art within art," she says. "I wanted to do something that looks cool but also displays the artwork inside." 

So far that means gluing a bunch of mirrors to the machine and creating a Mars-like landscape on the bottom with pink sand and glitter and the occasional coyote skull or gem buried in the sand. She says she's been working on beautifying the claw machine for a few months. 

"It's really great for me to be able to support other artists and work together to showcase all of the really great things going on in Tucson as far as artwork," she says. 

Dahl says that Hotel McCoy will celebrate the installation of the claw machine with an opening reception Friday, March 20, from 7-10 p.m. 

"If you come to Tucson and play a claw machine and win bath salts by a local maker, that will mean more to you than bath salts picked up at Target..." Dahl says. "We're taking every day little things and making them more authentic and cool." 

Artists who are interested in selling pieces for the claw machine can email Dahl at

Go here for more information. 

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