It is no shock to any of us that students in Washington, DC grow up among an environment of politics, activism, and, well, political activism! Friends of mine are always so impressed with how aware and literate Maury students are about the challenges facing our world, the players involved, and the steps needed to make positive change. Perhaps it’s the Changemaker mentality that lives within our building that has our students constantly on the lookout for ways to get involved in our communities. Whatever it is, I love it and am inspired by it daily.
This week, Maury kindergartners – 5th graders (including staff!), will have an awesome opportunity to flex their activist muscles. DCPS is asking ALL schools to participate in a nation-wide art installation aimed to raise awareness about the importance of ending childhood lead poisoning by creating an artistic “expression of currency” called a Fundred. This Fundred, along with over half a million others, will become part of a gigantic art installation which will be on display from February 22-March 12, here in Washington, DC!
In collaboration with visual artist & activist, Mel Chin (who is currently residing as the Corcoran’s Inaugural William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor or Community Engagement) and thousands of schools across the country, Maury students will be drawing on pre-printed (and rather fancy, if i do say so myself) “fake-money” and donating their individual expressions of currency as a way to represent everyone as part of a creative investment by the people that is for the future of all the people.
This week in art class, Ms. Bomba will be educating students on the original inspiration for Mel Chin’s project, which stems from the high levels of lead in the soil of many new Orleans’s neighborhoods and the enormous expense it is to remove and replace the soil in order to create safe play and learning spaces for the kids of Louisiana, as well as how the project has evolved. As residents of DC, our Cougars will then learn how their artwork, in conjunction with a million others, can make a physical, emotional, and (hopefully) political impact right here in Washington, DC!
On a completely unrelated (but very related) note, no pun intended, Maury 4th and 5th graders will also be meeting Will Fleishell, Master Engraver from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and creator of the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln on the new US $5 bill in art class on Monday afternoon as part of our drypoint intaglio printmaking unit! Thanks, Aunt Lizzy!!
Stay tuned for more about when and where you can visit the Fundred Dollar Bill installation and how you and your family can get involved at home. Please visit fundred.org to learn more! Let’s make DC the (non?) state with the most representation for this cause!