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Stacy Works to Make Fundreds of Dollars

Stacy Middle School Art Teacher Patty Salomon, and fifth grade students Alyssa Eden, Nicholas Antunes, Marissa Zaki, Andrew Fraioli, and Ashley Morgan all work on their Fundred project as part of a national movement to clean up the lead-contaminated soil of New Orleans. (Picture contributed by Milford Public Schools)



Although hand drawing interpretations of a $100 bill seems a little unconventional for an art class, this is less a lesson in counterfeiting and more a lesson in community service as students at Stacy Middle School join a national movement to remedy the lead-polluted soil of New Orleans.

Combining art and environmental health, the Fundred Dollar Bill Project is being taken on by art teacher Patty Salomon and her students. Students and community members across the nation are all working to create Fundreds, original, hand-drawn interpretations of $100 bills. According to the school, "completed Fundred artwork is sent to regional Collection Centers that are securely holding the valuable drawings. The project hopes to collect at least $3 million Fundreds, or the equivalent of $300 million, the estimated cost of making the soil in New Orleans lead-safe."

In January, an armored truck ,which has been retrofitted to run on waste vegetable oil, will begin a 17,000-mile cross-country trip to pick up the Fundred bills from the Collection Centers. The armored truck will deliver the Fundreds to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2011, where a request will be made of Congress for an even exchange of the value of the art currency for actual funds and services to support the implementation of Operation Paydirt, a citywide landscape recovery program for New Orleans.

The Operation Paydirt and The Fundred Dollar Bill Project (www.fundred.org) are led by internationally recognized artist Mel Chin, who states on the website, "Fundred, as part of Operation Paydirt, demonstrates the participatory power of art as a driving force for public awareness, dialogue, and action. We will reach children, those most affected by unsafe lead, deliver their voices to the U.S. Congress and solve the problem of lead-contaminated soil. Through this process we have the opportunity to profoundly impact the health of society."




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