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Community Artist Mel Chin Brings Fundred Project to MICA

Interview with WEAA's Marc Steiner, City Paper article highlight the community art awareness project

Posted 03.23.10 by mica communications

Mel Chin

The Fundred Dollar Bill Project is a collective community art project that seeks a solution to eliminate the devastating effects of lead-contaminated soil that currently places children at risk in New Orleans for severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Everyone and anyone -- students, teachers, artists, parents and celebrities -- are making their own Fundred Dollar Bills, original, hand-drawn interpretations of $100 bills. The goal is to collect more than 3 million of these unique artworks, which support the equivalent cost (in U.S. dollars) required to make safe every lead-contaminated property in New Orleans so that every child is protected. These valuable drawings will be picked up by a special armored truck and presented to the U.S. Congress with a request for an even exchange of the creative capital -- your Fundreds -- for real funding to make safe lead-polluted soils in New Orleans.


READ: On Wednesday, March 24, The Baltimore City Paper previewed Chin's visit to MICA with an in-depth article about the artist, the project, and M.A. in Community Arts student Ashby Foote '10, who is organizing Baltimore's and the state of Maryland's efforts for Fundred.

LISTEN: WEAA's Marc Steiner also interviewed Chin and Foote in an hourlong radio segment, which aired on March 31 on the Marc Steiner Show.

WATCH: If you missed the lecture on Wednesday, March 31, it is available to stream online through the support of and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. (He starts -- with an Elvis impersonation -- at 4 minutes in.)

Previous events:
Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m.

Brown Center: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.
Tickets: Free, MICA students and Contemporary Museum members; $5, other students; $10, general public
Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that encourage the community to collaborate and works that merge cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Chin's art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification as he intertwines such dichotic disciplines as alchemy, botany and ecology. His works investigate how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. This is part of a lecture series by the Contemporary Museum, where Chin, in conjunction with MICA students, is presenting an installation of The Fundred Dollar Bill Project, a community-based artwork engaging school-age children in neighborhoods across the country to raise awareness about lead poisoning, through Sunday, April 11.

Thursday, April 1, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Main Building: Main 110, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave.
Mel Chin will lead two workshops on community art and community participation, which are free and open to the public. He will speak about organizing and collaborating with local schools and organizations, and ways he has and wants to further implement The Fundred Dollar Bill Project.

Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m.
At the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 West Pratt St.
During the Fundred Extravaganza Parade, Mel Chin is guiding art educators, local students and community members who have participated with The Fundred Dollar Bill Project this year in a Mardi Gras-style parade complete with live music and performances, beads and costumes as well as banners made by local students and community centers. Among the noted speakers is Maryland's 7th district representative, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, who will be speaking on the effects of lead poisoning and Maryland's outreach efforts.

The event starts at 11 a.m. in the Baltimore Convention Center's fourth-floor ballroom, parading down to the Pratt Street entrance around 11:30 a.m. where the New Orleans-themed event continues. An Armored Money Truck, complete with 24 "armed guards" with prop shovel guns, will arrive to collect the Fundred Dollar Bills created by Baltimoreans and people across the state of Maryland.

The Fundred Extravaganza Parade is in conjunction with the NAEA 2010 National Conference, which honors community artists and service-based learning activities through the theme of Art Education and Social Justice.

For more information on The Fundred Dollar Bill Project, contact MICA student Ashby Foote, director of Fundred Programs, Baltimore, at 202-615-8866.

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