Quick! Head on over to fundred.org and learn all about an urgently innovative public art / public works / public health project goin’ on across the nation. Thumbnail sketch: soil contamination is rampant in the U.S., particularly in post-Katrina New Orleans, where it’s estimated that 30 percent of inner-city children suffer from lead poisoning, a leading cause of lifelong neurological and learning problems. A team of scientists has come up with some very cool strategies to lessen soil lead levels by “locking” the contaminant into bio-unavailable ( i.e. “won’t contaminate people”) minerals, a system that could be piloted in NOLA then implemented in lead-affected cities everywhere (including our own!). Awesome — the only catch is, the estimated cost for “Operation Paydirt” is $300 million.
Ouch. This is where “Fundred” comes in; artist Mel Chin has spearheaded a nationwide art movement wherein schoolkids and activists, artists and dabblers and moms and dads and abuelitas and scientists and everybody and anybody each creates an individual work of paper art based on the hundred-dollar bill (find some cool templates and instructions at fundred.org/get-involved/). This accumulated “creative capital” is being picked up by an armored truck called “Sous Terre” from schools and universities and community centers and arts institutions all across the country. This Thursday, Sous Terre (which means “underground”) will stop in San Antonio. The already-made fundreds by SA kids and artists and those made onsite during the pick-up will be combined with fundreds from everywhere from LA to Marfa and, late this spring, presented to the United States Congress with a request that lawmakers match this grassroots in-kind labor with some very real funding to remediate soil contamination. Help New Orleans and represent San Antonio! — Sarah Fisch