Vending machines dispense art

By: Sara Ringenbach ~Guest Writer~

Photo courtesy of | Some of the first creations dispensed out of Xavier’s book/art vending machine beginning in March 2015.

Have a late night craving for creative writing or art? Xavier’s new book/art vending machine has something for you to sink your teeth into. Located on the third floor entrance to the Conotan Learning Commons, the new book/art vending machine offers a buffet of original work written and designed by students. Created by English professor Kristen Renzi, the vending machine houses a cacophony of individual voices.

“It’s the community’s vehicle for conversation. Some people are not as naturally talkative and may find their voice better expressed as words on a page or through something they make,” Renzi said. The vending machine allows for more accessible and personal transactions between the artist and the audience. Its selection includes short stories, poetry, zines, journals, photography triptychs, jewelry and other inimitable creations, such as LEGO designs and crochet cacti. Items typically range from 50 cents to $5 and are dispensed as quickly as a pack of M&M’s. “I attached a monetary value because I think students’ words and work are valuable,” Renzi said.

While the machine is still rein its infancy, students are not compensated for their submissions. Profits are used for packaging contributions and to sustain and repair the machine. However, Renzi hopes to change that in the future.

“I am hoping over time that if people have something they develop, they could receive payment and profit” Renzi said. Have an appetite for poetry? Try Megan Johnston’s “Still life of a Sandwich,” a poetry collection cleverly dressed as a turkey sandwich and packaged in a Ziplock bag. Johnston’s whimsically- penned odes to PB&J, grilled cheese and hot dogs satisfy any hunger pains.

Thirst for mystical folklore? Sample the nautical adventures from the “Mermaid Tavern Apocryphal Histories” zine. The machine also allows classes to distribute research in a compact way, as opposed to unwieldy tri-fold boards.

Check out a new research pamphlet, “The History and Effects of I-71 and I-75.” Submissions are open to all members of the community. Any form of media is welcome, though the items must fit the size parameters of chips or a candy bar. Renzi implores students to take advantage of this unique voice-box. “The machine is only as cool as we make it. It offers a potential platform for communication but it requires individual minds and thoughts to contribute. I want a cross-pollination of ideas. I’d like as many people as possible to participate— either as sellers, as buyers, as makers. I think the machine has the potential to be a really cool communal space. But we have to use it.”

For more information, visit http://bookartvendingmachine. To submit an original work, contact Kristen Renzi (