There’s a joke that a college diploma is the most expensive piece of paper you’ll ever own…and a new art installation in Midtown is taking that concept to new heights (literally)!
Up now through Saturday (January 16) in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station is the “Da Vinci of Debt.” The towering, 46-foot high piece of art is made entirely from 2,600 real college diplomas, and is an effort from none other than infamous beer brand Natural Light to call attention to the rising cost of a college education in American history.
The exhibit is part of Natural Light’s 10 year, $10 million dollar commitment to pay down student loans via its College Debt Relief Program.
The company has also determined that it is the most expensive piece of art ever made, since the average cost of a four-year college education in America is $180,000…times 2,600 diplomas..equals an inherent value of $470 million dollars (the most experience piece of art sold for $450 million in 2017, a 600-year-old Da Vinci painting).
The creation also draws parallels between the ridiculously high costs of “fine art” (like a single banana for $120,000) and cost of attending college in America, which has reached a new record high in 2021 of $1.7 trillion in total debt.
“The art world is filled with absurd price tags that most people find impossible to justify,” said Daniel Blake, Vice President of Value Brands at Anheuser-Busch. “That’s what made it the perfect medium for this campaign. It’s a very fitting analogy for the outrageous cost of attending a typical four-year college. Through Da Vinci of Debt, we hope to inspire action around the college debt crisis and drive more fans to enter for a chance to have the Natty College Debt Relief Program pay down their student loans.”
The piece is quite mesmerizing, as the diplomas are suspended in mid-air by clear cables, so they appear to be floating and flying through the 6,000 square foot space in Grand Central. It’s in a “helix” formation, alluding to the stress and overwhelm college debt causes for students.
It will only be viewable now through this Saturday (January 16) — from 6:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. daily, so catch it while you can! You can find out more about the initiative on their website here.
featured image source: Courtesy Natural Light