Extravagant art spending threatens athletics

Dragon Mahfeet-Staff Writer


Vander Sculpture working on a new piece.

Everyone knows that music, theatre and fine arts bring in all the big money to institutions of higher learning. For this reason, scholarships in these fields are priced up to three times more than athletic scholarships. Then, last Thursday, a historic decision marked the first $40,000 art scholarship Dordt has ever offered when child protégé Marlisa Vander Sculpture, from LyndenHollandRipon, AL, signed to play at Dordt.

Vander Sculpture announced her intention to participate in Dordt’s fine arts program and join the art department. Throughout her senior year in high school, Vander Sculpture, a 5’6” subtractive sculptor, molded 715 maquettes, 1516 cute little mugs and 74 pieces of sculpture in the round. She is adept in clay, marble, trash, banana peels and even created a sculpture from the bones of those unfit to behold her artistic brilliance.


Professor Matt Drissel

“We are very pleased to add Marlisa to our program. She had an outstanding senior season at LyndonHollandRipon under head sculpting teacher Van Vanwink,” said Dordt College art professor Matt Drissel.

“Marlisa has the ability to make others around her better and she certainly did that this past year in leading the sculpting team,” Drissel said. “In addition, Marlisa possesses a high sculpting IQ that coincides with her competitive spirit. These intangibles will help Marlisa immensely as she transitions to the college level.”

To support Vander Sculpture’s scholarship and other scholarships of increased funding to the arts, Dordt decided to cut the volleyball, soccer, basketball, golf and track programs.

“This signing opens up many possibilities for the arts at Dordt,” said Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra.

“I like sports as much as the next president of the college,” Hoekstra said. “But sometimes being distinctly different in our Reformed heritage means conforming to the way that the world works. And the trend we’re experiencing at Dordt today is happening nationwide.”


Increase in scholarships mean continued growth for the theater department over the next few years.

Enrollment in sports-related fields of study, such as exercise science and recreation, is at an all-time low at the college, while the music department recently issued 16 full-ride performance scholarships for next fall’s incoming freshman.

In its desperate struggle against the inevitability of the devaluation of sports in modern American culture, Dordt’s athletic program is leaning on its frail association with the real moneymaking vehicle on campus: music, music and more music.

“Thank goodness for pep band!” said Athletic Director Glen Bouma. “We’re actually considering more ways to tap into the massive economic potential that is Dordt’s funding for the arts!”


Athletic department expects to see a decline in athletic event attendance.

Bouma hopes to funnel more money into the athletic program by making similar collaborations with the arts, including adding a theatre fusion intro to baseball and softball games that he hopes will draw crowds. In addition, revenue from a giant sculpture of Dordt junior Xavier Caffee is set to fund half of next season’s football games.

In terms of Vander Sculpture’s scholarship, the art and music departments believe the financial trend will continue, and they look forward to expanding funding in these areas in the near future.

“We are looking forward to Marlisa having an excellent career as a Defender,” Drissel said.

Editor’s Note: All Zircon articles are the Dordt Diamond’s semi-annual homage to the time-honored, First Amendment-protected, great American tradition of satire. The literal truths of these articles are not to be taken at face value, but we hope the hidden truths allude to the absurdities of some of the realities we face in society today.

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