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By Lauren Miele

A penny is pretty useless. It costs more to produce than it’s worth.

But Carly Benkendorf is challenging that notion with inCENTive — her fourth-year thesis project that pairs wishes to loose change.

“The point of my project is to add value to the penny and to make people think differently about them because they’re often overlooked,” the new media student said.

“One penny itself can’t buy anything — but it can buy a wish.”

inCENTive aims to add value to the penny by physically attaching a wish to the coin. For several months, Benkendorf has been collecting people’s wishes.

She prints the wishes onto transparent stickers and then sticks a wish onto each cent.

“Even in the current economic struggle, people are still taking things for granted and I want to point out that everything has value,” she said.

Benkendorf plans to display her penny collection by sticking all of the pennies on black canvases, while leaving loose pennies on the floor for people to take.

Her goal is to collect 10,000 pennies with enough wishes to match. As of now, Benkendorf has collected about 4,100 wishes and over 5,000 pennies.

Since it’s against the law to deface money, Benkendorf ensured each penny could be restored after the project.

inCENTive will be on display in April as part of the new media thesis exhibition. This will be the fourth annual exhibition and the first year it will be held off campus, due to construction in the Image Arts building.

Diana Brucculieri, a fourth-year new media student and the curator for the exhibition, is excited about the offcampus venue.

“Taking it out into the real world now is a pretty big step for us. We want this year to be the standard for years to come. And we’re going full throttle.”

A fundraiser for the exhibition is this Thursday at Lee’s Palace. It will be hosted by Fritz Helder & The Phantoms and features performances by Boytech and The Dress Whites.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased through fourth-year new media students.

When asked what her one wish for her penny would be, Benkendorf answers without a pause.

“I wish for everyone’s wishes to come true.”

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