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The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Launches Mel Chin’s Interactive Fundred Project in the Shop

Tables with banker’s lamps are set up for visitors to create Fundreds at The Shop at MMoCA
Tables with banker’s lamps are set up for visitors to create Fundreds at The Shop at MMoCA. Photo courtesy of MMoCA.

MMoCA Launches Mel Chin’s Interactive Fundred Project in The Shop Press Release

Visitors may drop by The Shop through March 20, 2022, to create Fundred Dollar Bills to draw attention to lead poisoning!

MADISON, WI— The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) presents the Fundred Project in The Shop through March 20, 2022. Initiated by artist Mel Chin as an interdisciplinary, artist-driven project to advance solutions to the devastating problem of lead poisoning, the Fundred Project has grown into a national effort, powered by the people. The goals are to raise awareness of the issues of lead contamination and to create a model of engagement and action toward lead-safe communities. This interactive installation is a prelude to an extensive exhibition of Mel Chin’s work, There’s Something Happening Here, which will be on view in the Museum’s Main Galleries from March 12 through July 31, 2022.

While visiting New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Chin learned about the silent storm of lead poisoning that had been plaguing the city and the rest of the country for decades. Hundreds of thousands of children are poisoned each year, with symptoms and consequences affecting them over their lifetime. Recognizing the scale of the problem, he conceived of the Fundred Project as a tangible and creative means to draw awareness to the dangers of lead poisoning, inspire change, and empower children, communities, and leaders across the country.

Fundreds on view at Fundred Reserve
Detail of Fundreds on view at Contemporary Art Museum Houston. [Fundred Project, 2008-2019]. Photo: Rick Gardner, courtesy Fundred Project.

Since 2008, the Fundred Project has given people the freedom to create alternative currency in the form of Fundred Dollar Bills. Each Fundred is an original work of art, an individually hand-drawn interpretation of a $100 bill that illustrates what each participant values most. Over half a million Fundreds have been drawn by people throughout the United States and, taken together, they are a tangible expression of people’s voices and the power of collective action toward a future free of lead poisoning.

Partnerships with communities and educational organizations are central to the Fundred Project. Given Madison’s reputation for excellent public schools and spirited grassroots action, Mel Chin was excited to see how Madison would respond to this awareness-raising campaign,” said MMoCA Curator of Exhibitions Leah Kolb.

The goal is to have the equivalent of the Fundreds’ worth applied to lead poisoning solutions. After Fundreds are created and shown at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, they will be sent to the Fundred Reserve—where they will be presented to our nation’s policymakers and will be added to the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum. The initiative is co-organized by S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio, a non-profit arts and justice organization that has produced the Fundred Project with Chin and collaborators since 2017.

Everyone is invited to create and share their own Fundred today! Spread the message on social media: #Fundred, @FundredProject

The Fundred Project is made possible by Mel Chin and S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio.

Fundred founding artist Mel Chin and participating children cut the blue ribbon to officially open the Fundred Reserve.
Fundred founding artist Mel Chin and participating children cut the blue ribbon to officially open the Fundred Reserve. [Fundred Project, 2008-2019]. Photo by Sarah Buckner, courtesy of the Fundred Project.

About the Artist

Mel Chin received a B.A. (1975) from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Based in North Carolina, Chin has served as a visiting professor or fellow at such institutions as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology CoLab, George Washington University, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, and the University of Georgia. Chin’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at such venues as the Queens Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Menil Collection in Houston, and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

He has received numerous awards and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Art Matters, Creative Capital, the Penny McCall Foundation, the Pollock/Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

About S.O.U.R.C.E. Studio

Founded by 2019 MacArthur Fellow and artist Mel Chin, S.O.U.R.C.E. is a 501c3 organization with a mission in its name: Sustained Operations Utilizing Resources for Culture, Communities and the Environment. S.O.U.R.C.E. supports artists and produces projects and practices rooted in community, experimentation, creative methodologies and social justice. S.O.U.R.C.E. takes a distinctive and iterative approach that allows for experimentation and breakthroughs.

Since its founding in 2017, S.O.U.R.C.E. has managed, produced and evolved the Fundred Project, an innovative and collaborative art engagement responding to the ongoing silent and invisible epidemic of lead poisoning. The Fundred Project connects hundreds of thousands of kids and communities from across the country to their Congressional Representatives in Washington DC, in an effort to raise awareness and advance actions to end lead poisoning.

About MMoCA

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s galleries are always admission free. The Museum’s vision is to be an organization that fosters the exchange of ideas and creates experiences that will inspire a wide audience; be a nexus for the work of emerging and established regional, national, and international artists; serve as a catalyst for the continued development of a vigorous community of artists; and provide a forum that will encourage people to be challenged by, reflect on, and make connections between art and the world around them.

The Museum includes four galleries and The Shop, a space to provide interactive contemporary art experiences and educational workshops to the community.

The Museum’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view which serves as a lovely venue for weddings, art openings, dining, and cinema.

MMoCA’s galleries are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon to 6 PM. Please visit mmoca.org to learn more.

Published on Jan 18 2022

Last Updated on May 26 2022

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