There is a new public art installation at Grand Central Station courtesy of Natural Light Beer. According to the sponsor, “Da Vinci of Debt” illustrates the overwhelming amount of debt college students must enter into in order to pay for their education. 

The art is comprised of 2,600 real college diplomas, which, based on a $180,000 average cost, would bring the value of the piece to over $470 million, making it the most expensive piece of art in history.

The piece was created to celebrate the return of the Natural Light College Debt Relief Program that began in 2018. The program gives out $1 million a year in debt relief. 

According to Daniel Blake, Vice President of Value Brands at Anheuser-Busch, “The art world is filled with absurd price tags that most people find impossible to justify. That’s what made it the perfect medium for this campaign.” This new public art at Grand Central is, “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 program is operated as a contest and here’s the official description for 2021: “Fans can tell Natty what inspired them to go to college for a chance to have Natty pay down their debt. Natty Light will be accepting entries using #NattyStories and #Contest from Jan 11 through March 21, 2021. Full contest rules and regulations can be found at www.naturallight.com/natty-stories-2021.” There will be 25 total winners.

But just how did they get all those diplomas? 

Throughout 2020, Natural Light asked fans through social media if they could borrow their diploma for $100 (paying them via CashApp or check). Through this “diploma rental,” they were able to collect the diplomas for this installation.


Photos courtesy Natural Light.

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