Natural Light’s $ 470 million art installation is a commentary on the student debt crisis

When you look at your college years, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Parties, football matches, a group of friends, your favorite teacher?

For many of the 45 million U.S. graduates who have left campus in debt, the stress of paying off large student loans is likely to overshadow those happy moments of the college experience – something the beer brand does Natural light refuses to tolerate.

So, to draw attention to the growing college debt crisis, Natural light today unveils “the world’s most expensive work of art” at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal. It’s a setup made up of 2,600 real college degrees, valued at over $ 180,000 each (the average total cost of a four-year college education, according to Student Loan Hero).

With a total of $ 470 million, “Da Vinci of Debt” is worth more than the most expensive piece of art ever sold at a public auction – Salvator Mundi, a 600 year old Leonardo da Vinci painting which amounted to $ 450 million in 2017.

“College debt is one of the biggest and, sadly, one of the most crippling issues for Americans today,” said Daniel Blake, Anheuser-Busch vice president of marketing for brands valuable. Total student debt can reach $ 1.7 trillion in 2021 according to the Federal Reserve, which is a record, noted Blake. This is a particularly important issue among the Natural Light consumer base, which represents students of drinking age and young graduates.

Each of the diplomas used in the artwork is authentic – Natural light rented them out to college graduates for $ 100 each.

“We chose art as the medium to amplify the program this year because we saw that the costs of the art world were a great analogy to the exorbitant cost of attending a four-year college,” said Blake said.

While Blake hopes the installation raises awareness of the ever-growing burden that student debt places on college graduates in the United States, it’s also about something much simpler and central to the Natty Light brand: insuring that graduates can “look back on their university.” tenderly experience.

For those who can’t make it to Grand Central to see the installation in person, Natural Light has also created a digital experience accessible through his website and social channels. The brand collaborated with Snapchat on an AR lens that allows fans to step into space and explore the exhibit, personally interacting with it, Blake said.

This waterfall may be the most visible of Natural Light’s student debt-focused initiatives to date, but it is far from the first. The brand has been engaged for four years in a decadalong commitment to give $ 1 million per year to university graduates with student debt. Each year, he gives $ 40,000 to 25 young college graduates to help them pay off their debt. To participate, people must post a video on social media explaining why they decided to go to college, including the hashtags #NattyStories and #contest. For a photo from Natty Light’s 2021 Debt Relief Fund series, fans have until March 31 to submit their entries.

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