Meagan De Graaf – Staff Writer
When walking into the Fruited Plain in downtown Sioux Center, the first things that hits you is the smell of coffee. Then there’s the music, setting a relaxing and artistic tone. And one of the first things seen upon entering is a vending machine with “Dordt College” written out on the side of it.
Walk around the front of this machine, you’ll notice that it isn’t filled with snacks or drinks. Instead, the machine features artistic works created by Dordt College students. There are crochet dolls, prints, small canvas paintings, ceramic works, and more.
“It’s a witty way to make art be a part of the wider community,” said Dordt College art professor David Versluis.
The works of art range in price from about four to thirty dollars, which help the art department and the artists of Dordt College. This helps teach artists what it is like to create and sell art, along with the way the art sales business operates.
This idea was inspired by something Dordt professor Matt Drissell saw in Ames, Iowa. So he bought a vending machine, stocked it with art made by students, and thus the Dordt Art Vend was born.
Artists are forced to consider all the properties of their art when creating this art, which leads them to think in new ways about art that would benefit the machine. Any paintings must be smaller than most artists would be used to, because the canvas must fit into the machine.
One student decided to crochet small dolls to be sold in the Art Vend, which was a creative solution. The artworks must be able to withstand the machine, as well as falling down to the bottom when purchased. This creates a new challenge for artists to overcome, and therefore helps them grow as artists.
“Dordt Art Vend provides an avenue for students to create and serve creatively,” Drissell said, noting it as an opportunity for the artists of Dordt to share their God-given talents and abilities.
The location of the vending machine changed since it was created last May. It started out on campus, in the Art Department, but now resides in the Fruited Plain. This way, the community can interact with the machine, and Dordt art students can get their art out to the people of Sioux Center.
Because the machine has been operating continuously, the art supply inside the machine is running low. There are several empty spots, which means that some new art is needed.
The Dordt College art department is currently looking for new art and new artists to contribute to the machine so the Dordt Art Vend can continue to operate and serve as an artistic influence for the entire Sioux Center community.