Frequently Asked Questions About Debtfair

Do I have to be in debt to participate?

A: No, you do not have to be in debt to participate in Debtfair. You can be someone who has no debt but considers themself to be an ally, or maybe you just think the project is interesting and want to be part of it and that's fine too. 

Do I have to live in the US and Puerto Rico to participate?

A: Currently we are focusing on the picutre of art and debt in the US, so at the moment yes. But please do email us with any ideas of messages of solidarity or new information about how debt among the arts community functions in countries outside of the US. 

Does my artwork have to be about debt or finance to particiate/Which themes are preferred in Debtfair?

A: No, your artwork can be about any subject, Debtfair is not organized by the subjectmatter of the artworks, though we are interested to see the diversity of themes that artists are working with. 

Do I have to be a Puerto Rican artist, in Default, or an alumni of NYU to Partipate?

A: No, any US artist can join Debtfair. These categories are interesting to us as potential ways of organizing and understanding debt relationships so we are highlighting them, but we are not yet sure whether we will highlight these categories in the end.  

Do you guys think that artists are special and should not have to pay debts while everyone else should?

A: No, we do not see artists as exceptional within the debt crisis. Private debt is a factor of most American's lives and municipal debts effect most people in the world. We are organizing artists around debt because we ourselves are apart of this community and can make a greater and more focused impact. If artists come to understand their potential for debt solidarity, it can fan out to wider circles as it already has in some cases.  

Do you have a plan to pay off the debt of the artists that apply to Debtfair?

A: No we have not developed a plan that eradicates the enormous problem of debt. We have tried to pay off artists debts through this system in the past but with little success. For now, we feel that the most important step to take toward concrete changes for debtors facing odious debt burdens is to organize. 

How will the artists whose work is shown physically in the museum be selected?

A: After we have received all the questionnaires by December 9th, we will sort through the data and select groups or "bundles" or artists based on factors that have to do with their debts. That is why we are asking so many specific questions about your financial realities!

How will my work/ profile be digititally represented in the Whitney Museum?

A: We will display monitors with slideshows of artworks along with your written thoughts about how debt effects your art practice. 

Will the personal information on the questionnaire be revealed publically, how can I be sure that my privacy is protected?

A:  We will not reveal your total debt amount, or any specific information about your debts individually. We will only use these factors to organize artists collectively. 

What if I choose to remove my profile from later on?

A: You can edit or remove your profile at any time. 

If you have questions not covered here, please email us at debtfair (at)