New art exhibition documents the struggles of debtors in America

Nov. 10, 2021

The “Debt Collectors Series” art exhibition, at Stokes Library, tells the story of the debt industry and the lives it has impacted. The key partner in this work is the VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization.

Conceptualized by Frederick F. Wherry *00 *04, the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology at Princeton, the “Debt Collectors Series” draws its inspiration from Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series (1940-1941) and features re-envisioned artwork by Ari Riggins ’23 and Rachel Mrkaich ’21. The Debt Collection Series exhibition tells the story of the debt industry and the lives it has impacted. Wherry stated, “it is one thing to tell people that about 70 million American adults, roughly 1 in 3, or that about 10 million are sued. It is quite another thing to show people what this looks like in the lives of debtors and their families.”

The Debt Collectors Series, a collaborative project with the VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization, is an open-ended endeavor that will recruit poets and other artists to add and to deepen the stories told.

Read the full story here.

The Debt Collectors Series Exhibition Opening will be November 10 from 4:30-5:30 PM. Hosted by Stokes Library, the Dignity + Debt Network and the Sociology Department.

The series will be on display through May 2022 at Stokes Library, lower level of Wallace Hall. It is open to Princeton University faculty, students and staff with building access. The paintings are also available online on the new Debt Collection Lab website