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

About

Our Mission:

29 Pieces uses art to awaken and uplift the creative human spirit to make genuine 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
DariusFrasure

“MasterPEACE 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

Programs

MasterPEACE: Artists Making a Kinder World is an art-based, hands-on curriculum, developed by 29 Pieces. Teachers confirm that MasterPEACE 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 MasterPEACE…

MasterPEACE Videos

Peacemakers Like You and Me
IF
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)
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“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

Programs

Peak Street
Studio Workshops

Some life-changing journeys begin without even opening a suitcase. Just your mind.

Peak Street Studio Workshops are one day retreats in which attendees hear the inside story of the creation of the 29 Pieces, learn about the organization’s goals, and receive introductory training in medi­tation on sacred passages. In a quiet and nurturing atmosphere, retreatants meditate together, and then each participant creates a piece of original art, based on the words from the world’s visionaries and mystics who inspired the 29 Pieces.

Read More about Peak Street Studio Workshops…

“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.

LynnMcClain2

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

—Lynn McClain
Uplift Education Peak Preparatory

Programs

The Dallas LOVE Project, an extension of the MasterPEACE 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.
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“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

Programs

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

Scott Eustace
President

Dr. Barbara Miller
Vice-President & Founder

Diana O’Connor
Secretary

Alan H. Levi
Treasurer

Karen Blessen
Founder & Artistic Director

Sondra Cox

Kara Hobbs

Kelly Nash

Mauricio Navarro

Founders

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.

Join Our Mailing List

Phone: (469)334-0972 Email: karen@29pieces.org
Address: 124 N. Peak Street Dallas, TX 75226 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 140962 Dallas, TX 75214

Send us a message!

29 Pieces uses art to advance non-violence

“We learned about people who changed the world in large and small ways.
No matter how small, we are changing the world. It makes a big difference.”

 — Ally