Mel Chin recently came to ASU to promote his new Fundred Dollar Bill Project, and having some knowledge of his past work, it was great to meet the man in person. He is quite a character and excellent presenter, which I did not expect.
The Fundred Dollar Bill Project is his response to New Orleans. And I don’t mean post Katrina New Orleans. While he was brought in as an artist to respond to the devastation left by the hurricane, he realized that a bigger problem was already present in the city, in the soil.
Lead levels in the Ninth Ward dirt peak at 3,000 parts per million. The EPA marks 400 parts per million as detrimental to child development. Most European contries set the bar at 100 parts per million. 30% of children in New Orleans have lead poisoning.
With his research team, Mel Chin calculated that the entire city of New Orleans could be treated with a fish bone solution that locks loose lead and blocks it from entering humans for $300,000,000.00. While he didn’t think he could raise this much money, he did think he could create it with the help of school children all over the country by making Fundred Dollar Bills.
Here’s a video describing the project:
Once all the Fundreds are drawn, they will be picked up from collection centers around the country in a vegetable oil armored truck. The truck will then deliver the bills to Washington DC and ask congress for an equal exchange of one Fundred Bill for one Hundred Bill. The goal is not only to clean up New Orleans, but to demonstrate a working new science for removing lead in other cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Phoenix.
You too can get involved and make your own Fundred using these templates. If you teach, know people, have parties, or a knitting circle, you too can get your group to make some Fundreds. The only restrictions are the Fundreds must be printed in color, and only one Fundred per person. You can follow the project on Facebook, too.
I got my 3D Design class to make some Fundreds with the help of Claire, one of the ASU Museum interns. Here are some photos of my Fundred:
Now get out there and make some money!