With this mixed-media installation, Kelli Rae Adams calls attention to the magnitude and urgency of the student debt crisis in the U.S. Utilizing several hundred handmade ceramic bowls, a quantity of steadily accumulating coins and a wall-hanging triptych composed of dollar bills, Adams renders legible the physical volume of this collective burden while also shining light on the insidious practical and psychological implications of educational debt.

 The centerpiece of this exhibition, entitled Forever in Your Debt, is a material data visualization of this issue. Using the pottery wheel, Adams has crafted a quantity of ceramic bowls sufficient to hold the average individual student debt — approximately $37,000 — in the form of coins. Through the mechanism of the resulting installation, she invites visitors to contribute their accumulated household change in exchange for an eventual return in the form of one of the vessels, which they will receive once the project has been fully realized. 

 If you have a quantity of accumulated change you are willing to contribute to the installation, please bring it with you to the gallery. All contributions of change are welcome and greatly appreciated. Contributions of mixed change sufficient to fill a bowl will be reciprocated by the artist; those who contribute this minimum amount will receive one of the bowls from the installation once the project is complete, after an estimated time period of one to two years.

about the artist:

Kelli Rae Adams utilizes clay in various states of permanency—often alongside additional materials—to create installation-based works that examine prevailing economic systems and probe our existing relationships to labor, currency and value. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues such as the the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design (Washington, DC), the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University (Providence, RI), the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY) and the Museum of International Ceramic Art (Denmark). She has been a fellow at the Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington, DC, and an artist-in-residence at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark and Vista Alegre in Portugal. In 2019, she served as Arts Envoy to Honduras for the U.S. Department of State, lecturing & teaching at several institutions in Tegucigalpa and jurying the XVIII Central American Sculpture and Ceramics Biennial. Her study of ceramics began in Japan, where she apprenticed over a period of five years with Tetsuro Hatabe, a master potter in the Karatsu tradition. Kelli holds an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Visual Arts and Spanish from Duke University, and she has served as faculty at RISD.

about the opening reception:

The opening reception will take place on Nov 14th with an artist talk in Gowen Room at 4:30 pm. The exhibit will remain on view in Hartnett Gallery from Nov 14 through Dec 16. There will also be a closing reception on Dec 16th from 5-7 pm. 

Please feel free to invite friends to the Facebook event.