29 Pieces uses art to advance non-violence
29 Pieces operates at the potent intersection of creativity and spirit
29 Pieces teaches peace


Our Mission:

29 Pieces uses art to awaken, uplift and give voice to the creative human spirit to make genuine, positive social change.

Our Story

The vision for 29 Pieces was born of tragedy. In August 2000, a young man was murdered in front of her home. Karen processed the profound psychic toll of this event by writing and creating art. The result was “One Bullet,” a deeply personal story published in The Dallas Morning News in 2003. Following “One Bullet,” Karen was compelled to do something to uplift children and adults, something to give them the courage and strength to stand against the violence that permeates our culture. In what Karen call her creative “big bang,” a vision emerged: monumental change through monumental art. 29 Pieces was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005 to develop and deliver arts programs to the Dallas-area community.

29 Pieces in Pictures

Community Challenges

“The typical career criminal causes $1.3 – $1.5 million in external costs. The typical high school dropout costs $243,000 – $388,000.”

“The Monetary Value of Saving a High-Risk Youth,” 1998 Mark Cohen, Owen Graduate School of Management,
Vanderbilt University

$17.25 Million: The cost of a single homicide, accounting for lost offender productivity victim and justice system costs, and other factors.

— Iowa State, Murder by Numbers: Monetary costs imposed by a sample of homicide offenders, 2010

“29 Pieces Education fosters a life-learning disposition in students and adults alike.”

— Darius Frasure, Teacher
formerly at A.W. Brown Fellowship Leadership Academy,
now at Mountain View Community College


29 Pieces Education: Artists Making a Kinder World is an art-based, hands-on curriculum, developed by 29 Pieces. Teachers confirm that 29 Pieces Education fosters social and emotional learning and essential values like kindness and compassion, as well as important life skills such as conflict resolution and analytical thinking. This curriculum can be applied to teaching social studies, science and other STEM skills.

Read more about 29 Pieces Education…

29 Pieces Education Videos

Peacemakers Like You and Me
Teachers Testimonials
TED Talk

Community Challenges

69% of U.S. adults surveyed reported experiencing physical symptoms of stress. Of those reporting extreme stress, 20% reported extreme stress levels of 8, 9 or 10.

 — American Psychological Association (APA)

“I am grateful for a day set aside for artful meditation and prayer-like creativity–the opportunity to simply “be” and “make.” You have invited us into stillness and quietude, and low and behold it’s a salve to the dynamic static I often walk around in.”

— Melanie Ferguson

“I understand the artist to be someone who, amidst the silence of others, uses his voice to say something, and who has the obligation that this thing not be useless but something that offers a service to man.”
— Joan Miro

Community Challenges

There are defining moments in the life of a city. For Dallas, that moment came on November 22, 1963. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Dallas was labeled by some as the “City of Hate.” 50 years later, citizens of Dallas expressed the idea that Dallas is a city where LOVE thrives.


“Asking students to look beyond their individual concerns into support for others is a tall order that 29 Pieces Education facilitates. The LOVE Project lesson was educational on several levels (history, civil rights, Dallas, legacies). 29 Pieces Education puts context on ideas that are often cheerfully discussed and forgotten.”

—Lynn McClain
Uplift Education Peak Preparatory


The Dallas LOVE Project, an extension of the 29 Pieces Education LOVE lesson, is a city-wide art exhibition in which 20,000 people created 10,000 pieces of LOVE art to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. This art was exhibited at 65 venues across Dallas, mostly along the Kennedy motorcade route. Through local, national and international press, 185 million people were exposed to the Dallas LOVE Project.
Read More about Dallas Love Project…

Community Challenges

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The 29 Pieces are powerful, otherworldly visions, working on many levels, touching me with their majesty and mystery…I can imagine them in many settings, surprising, challenging and moving viewers with their many facets and many materials.”

— Gretchen Dykstra,
Writer, former NYC government and not for profit Executive


The 29 Pieces Sculptures

The 29 Pieces of sculpture, as large as 60 feet tall, will bring to life the inspired messages and sacred words of spiritual visionaries throughout history. These sculptures were created by artist and organizational founder, Karen Blessen. Once created to scale, they will be on permanent exhibition.

Read More about 29 Pieces Sculpture…



Who We Are

Board of Directors

Karen Isbell

Sondra Cox

Diana O’Connor

Karen Blessen
Founder & Artistic Director

Dr. Barbara Miller

Kelly Nash


Karen Blessen

29 Pieces founder Karen Blessen was working as an illustrator and writer. She was the first graphic artist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize (1989). In August, 2000, a young man was murdered in front of her home. Karen was compelled to do something greater to uplift children, to give them the courage and strength to stand against the violence that permeates the culture.   In what Karen call her creative “big bang,” the founding vision of 29 Pieces emerged: monumental change through monumental art.

Dr. Barbara Miller

Co-founder of 29 Pieces, Barbara serves as the Executive Director of Recruitment & Admissions for Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, TX.  Dr. Miller received her B.S. degree from Texas A&M University, her D.D.S. degree from Baylor College of Dentistry, and her M.S. degree in Oral Biology from Baylor University.  For 8 summers, she studied cultural issues, human rights, ethics, and world religions at Oxford University in England.  She has further training in non-violent communication, cultural competency and diversity issues.

Thank you for partnering with us on this journey to use art in unique ways to teach peace, empathy, teamwork, collaboration, and social and emotional learning.

See all of our Sponsors here.

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Phone: 214-770-1219 Email: karen@29pieces.org
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 140962 Dallas, TX 75214

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29 Pieces uses art to advance non-violence


29 Pieces is committed to supporting and advocating for the equal rights of all people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual identification or socioeconomic status.  In all our work as an organization, we use art to awaken, uplift and give voice to the creative human spirit, which we know and proclaim to be in all people.  Our mission as an organization includes people of all backgrounds, as each perspective is essential to our mission to make genuine, positive social change.

Specifically, we work to facilitate and support creative insights that heal and transform, and thus, lead to a more just society that lives up to our constitutionally stated ideals of democracy, freedom and equality. We work to see an end to acts of violence and discrimination against any group or individual and proclaim our commitment to act in solidarity with all groups and individuals who are also working to fulfill equal protection under the law and equal opportunities for all.