September 2, 2010

Mel Chin's "Fundred Dollar Bill" Project

You may remember the first pic, right, from my 2008 post on Prospect.1 New Orleans.

What I should also have mentioned is that this "safe house," created by artist Mel Chin, was the launching pad for a massive art project, Operation Paydirt, in which we're all invited to collaborate.

Chin visited New Orleans after Katrina and learned that not only had the city been decimated by the disaster, but thousands of its kids were struggling with severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems because dangerous levels of lead had been allowed to accumulate in the local soil. He discovered that lead contamination is pervasive in many U.S. cities, and he determined to do something about it.

Chin developed a template that can be used to make "FUNdred Dollar Bills," and using this template, kids and others across the nation have created thousands of unique artworks and sent them to Chin's collaborative. Their goal is to amass three million FUNdred bucks by the end of the 2010-2011 school year and deliver them by armored truck to Congress, to help bring attention to the problem.

They want you to become part of the collaborative by making and contributing your own Fundred buck(s). You can download the template and find lots more info here, including where to send your bucks.

We included the template in the Non-Profit Margin exhibition at CentralTrak, as one of several examples of socially-engaged, participatory art projects in the vein contemplated by Temporary Services' ART WORK newspaper, and we solicited people to make and contribute their own FUNdred Dollar Bills. You can see a few more examples here (the two shown in this post are by Gabe Dawe and moi).

Please consider making this a project for your family, students, or drinking buddies. Here's a video about Operation Paydirt:

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