NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Natural Light Beer made art history today, unveiling the most expensive piece of art in the world in an effort to call attention to the rising cost of a college diploma and the impact of college debt. The artwork, entitled Da Vinci of Debt, was unveiled at historic Vanderbilt Hall in New York City's Grand Central Terminal. The installation was created using 2,600 authentic, physical diplomas provided by real college graduates across the country.
Da Vinci of Debt celebrates the return of the Natural Light College Debt Relief program which launched in 2018. Each year, the program provides $1 million to help people who are weighed down by the burden of debt. Now entering year four of its ten-year, $10 million commitment, Natty discloses the "highly-classified" plan behind its $100 diploma rentals in 2020 as it unveils the stunning exhibit.
"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."
Only in the art world can a single banana sell for $120,000 and an artist's used bedsheets go for $150,000. While other artworks like these are valued arbitrarily, the value of Da Vinci of Debt is derived from the average total cost** of a four-year college education. The result is a piece of art valued at $470 million dollars, besting the most expensive piece of art ever sold at public auction - Salvator Mundi, a 600-year-old Da Vinci painting that sold for $450 million in 2017.
The design of the artwork is a mesmerizing collection of real diplomas, suspended in mid-air as if a gale of wind had just scattered all 2,600 of them throughout the cavernous, 6,000 square foot space at Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall. The design is meant to illustrate both the scale of the crippling debt crisis while also alluding to the chaotic impact college debt creates for those who are burdened by it. Each diploma was carefully molded in place and brilliantly suspended using an intricate network of cables.
With U.S. college debt snowballing to a new record high in 2021: $1.7 trillion* in total debt, and the average graduate paying over $180,000** by the time their diploma is in hand, Natural Light is calling on the deep-pockets of the fine art world to view its exhibit and are open to entertaining bidders on the historic artwork.
"If it means giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the college experience without the debt that follows, we're all ears," said Blake. "Natty is dedicated to doing everything we can to provide real solutions to college debt, and if there is a serious bidder, you know where to find us…@naturallightbeer."
The installation is in residence for a limited time in New York at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal from January 14-16, 2021. A full gallery of the installation will be viewable virtually at https://www.naturallight.com/davinci-of-debt.
In addition to the installation at Grand Central Terminal, Natural Light has partnered with Snap Inc. to replicate the Da Vinci of Debt in Augmented Reality (AR) making it accessible to anyone 21+ via Snapchat. Using the Natural Light AR Lens, Snapchatters are able to view and explore the exhibit virtually by placing it wherever they are and tapping sections of the installation to learn more about the college debt crisis in America and the Natural Light College Debt Relief program.
In 2021, Natty is back with another $1 million in debt relief. 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 https://www.naturallight.com/natty-stories-2021. To learn more, follow @naturallight on Twitter and Facebook, @naturallightbeer on Instagram.
ABOUT NATURAL LIGHT Natural Light was introduced in 1977 as Anheuser-Busch's first reduced-calorie light beer. Currently the sixth best-selling beer in America, Natural Light is brewed with a blend of premium hops and a combination of select grains producing a clean flavor, light body and satisfying refreshment.
ABOUT ANHEUSER-BUSCH For more than 165 years, Anheuser-Busch has carried on a legacy of brewing great-tasting, high-quality beers that have satisfied beer drinkers for generations. Today, we own and operate 23 breweries, 14 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities, and have more than 18,000 colleagues across the United States. We are home to several of America's most recognizable beer brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA and Stella Artois, as well as a number of regional brands that provide beer drinkers with a choice of the best-tasting craft beers in the industry. From responsible drinking programs and emergency drinking water donations to industry-leading sustainability efforts, we are guided by our unwavering commitment to supporting the communities we call home. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com or follow Anheuser-Busch on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.