Eric Rowe – Staff Writer
It stands at 5 feet 5 inches and is waiting to be transformed in the sculpture room of the Art Department. It spent a life dispensing edible goodies. It’s not another piece of artwork for Dordt’s campus, but rather a unique showcase for work created by students. It’s a vending machine that dispenses art instead of snacks.
“It’s a fun way to make their work a part of someone else’s life,” said art professor, Matt Drissell.
Professors Drissell, Neal DeRoo and Walker Cosgrove transported the art vending machine to Dordt, and it is in transition while it’s modified for its new calling. Drissell plans to get the machine running and filled with artwork for sale by spring break.
The machine contains 19 slots that range from Snickers to Doritos size. The art can be priced at anywhere from a penny to $99.99.
Drissell is hoping to get his art students involved in filling the machine at first, but it may be possible to set up a way for the student body to submit work in the future.
“It’s not limited to artwork,” Drissell said. “Anything goes as long as it fits in the machine.”
From original paintings and prints to unique crafts, if it’s the right size and can take the drop, there’s space in the machine.
Drissell had heard of the nationwide project of recycling cigarette machines into art dispensers, but he hadn’t seen one in person until he visited Wheats Field food co-op in Ames, Iowa, last April.
“I thought why not?” Drissell said. “Why can’t we have that here?”
Drissell applied for Dordt’s creativity and innovation grant and was given the go-ahead to buy a machine. It was tricky to find a vending machine online but after months of waiting, Drissell was able to win the bid at an online auction and came in just under budget.
One of the goals of ideas like the art vending machine is to encourage the spirit of creativity on Dordt’s campus, Drissel said. To get students to ask the question, “What does it take to make this place their own?”
Whether the art vending machine will catch on and encourage more creative endeavors remains to be seen.
“That would be too cool,” senior Tanner Brasser said when he heard the eventual purpose of the vending machine. “I would buy something from it.”
The art department is still looking for a schnazzy name for the machine and suggestions are welcome.