September 20 2015
Piece by Piece Receives Grant to Provide Mosaic Art Workshops in Skid Row
Funds enable Piece by Piece to extend the reach of the arts to residents of Skid Row with limited access
Los Angeles, CA September 20, 2015
The California Arts Council has awarded Piece by Piece grant funding as part of its Local Impact program, fostering equity, access, and opportunity by extending the reach of the arts to underserved populations with limited access.
The grant funds Piece by Piece to provide artist-led community workshops engaging residents of Skid Row, including homeless persons as well as formerly-homeless residents of supportive housing.
The Workshop setting is the beautiful garden deck at Star Apartments, supportive housing built by Skid Row Housing Trust to house 100 of the County's residents most vulnerable to chronic homelessness. The Star is located in Council District 14, where Councilmember Huizar has led an effort to facilitate much-needed services to those living on the streets.
Calling homelessness the single most important issue facing downtown, Councilmember Huizar recognizes the problem as a social and humanitarian issue and has worked directly with the County to create a policy that now brings County medical, mental health, housing and social service professionals to Skid Row. With an estimated 3,500 individuals living in Skid Row, art workshops provided by Piece by Piece extend the range of available services addressing the complex needs that perpetuate homelessness. Resources for positive engagement and skills development through creative activity are spare in the neighborhood, and the need is one that resonates strongly among residents.
Councilman Huizar has advocated for expanding homeless services, for a better federal funding formula in order that Skid Row attain the resources it desparately needs, and for coordination with County, State and Federal agencies. The grant awarded by the California Arts Council reflects a state investment in bringing experiences in the arts to a population with extremely few resources for creative outlet.
The workshop provides engagement that builds trust, support and respect and offers unique opportunity to contribute to the creation of collaborative art projects. Art made in groups encourages participation among those with limited or no prior experience in art. For many, breaking isolation and attaining an encouraging environment in which to be expressive and connect with others is transformative. Participants make gains in wellness and mental health, and begin to identify as contributing members of a society that is important to them. Personal goals and aspirations arise, lending to improved mental health and housing stability.
The Community Art offering has gained popularity among residents of supportive housing throughout Skid Row, inspiring many to enroll in the Piece by Piece Skills-Building Series.
“The Workshop is notable for its ability to address the need for creative engagement that is highly-encouraging, promotes connection with others and stimulates motivation for achieving a range of personal goals,” said Lisa Marsh, Piece by Piece Managing Director. “The activity promotes creative expression and brings improved wellness and quality to the lives of persons facing complex issues that have made them vulnerable to homelessness.”
"Artist-Instructors facilitating workshops are not only accomplished mosaic artists, they boast exceptional talent in working with members of vulnerable populations to build esteem, establish goals and work to attain them,” said Program Director Dawn Mendelson. “The workshops, in action, fuel fresh insights and explorations in Mosaic Art that are relevant to the community’s needs.”
“California Arts Council grants support a wide range of projects that are crafted by each community to reflect their values and needs,” said Donn K. Harris, Chair of the California Arts Council. “It is always exciting to see what creative minds attempt to do when working collaboratively. With an increased state investment, we are able to further spark the powerful growth and prosperity that result from the deep arts engagement provided by our grant programs.”
To view a complete listing of all Local Impact grantees, visit arts.ca.gov/news/pressreleases.php.
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Piece by Piece is a non-profit organization operating to serve residents of supportive housing in Skid Row and South Los Angeles. Its mission is to provide low-income and formerly homeless people free mosaic art workshops using recycled materials to develop marketable skills, self-confidence, earned income and an improved quality of life. Learn more at www.piecebypiece.org.
Piece by Piece at Star Apartments. In strategic partnership with Skid Row Housing Trust, Piece by Piece operates a social-enterprise that offers participants arts learning that brings voice to creative expression and a path to earned income. While continuing its long-standing service in South LA, a new home base in Skid Row has enabled greatly expanded programming reaching tenants from among 2,400 recently-homeless residents of supportive housing in the area, as well as the unhoused.
Skid Row Housing Trust. The Trust provides permanent supportive housing so that people who have experienced homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction can lead safe, stable lives in wellness. Learn more at www.skidrow.org
The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts, fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California's diverse populations, serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts and providing effective and relevant programs and services. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.