Our Year in Review
Piece by Piece welcomes our newest certified artist, Hector G!
Join us in congratulating Hector for becoming Piece by Piece’s newest Certified Artist. Hector is a bright spirit who brings a layer of fun and creativity to every workshop he joins. We talked to Hector and here’s what he had to say about his work at Piece by Piece!
How did you hear about Piece by Piece?
I was on my phone, and I was scrolling on social media to see if there were any free art events near me, and I saw a post on my Facebook feed about free basic mosaic classes for the residents of south LA, and I signed up!
Who inspires you?
People inspire me. Everyone around me inspires me, and I always learn something new from talking and listening to people. I grew up in South Los Angeles with many diverse people from different backgrounds, cultures, etc. and that has helped me be open-minded.
What materials do you like to use in your mosaic work?
I like recycled tesserae so I’ll use any material that is recyclable or that is donated here. It’s my favorite to use recycled material and give it a second home.
How have you grown as an artist and a person since joining Piece by Piece?I’ve never done mosaics or knew what mosaic was until I came to Piece by Piece. At first, I was very nervous about cutting the tesserae pieces, and I struggled to figure out where to place my tesserae pieces, and my pieces would fly everywhere. Coming to the basic mosaic classes on Wednesdays and learning from Dawn, Bea, and the other instructors have helped me so much improve as an artist, and I have gained so much knowledge and skills about mosaics that I feel comfortable and at peace.
What does Piece by Piece mean to you?
Piece by Piece means family and not a competition. I do feel sometimes like life is a competition but my colleagues show me that we’re all here and we all have struggles and because of that we know that it’s ok to be ourselves.
What has Piece by Piece and creating mosaics added to your life?
Piece By Piece has given me hope and a voice. It’s very inspirational to be able to tell my story by putting broken recycled tesserae pieces together. Being able to create art is something beautiful.
Social Enterprise Highlights
The Piece by Piece Social Enterprise had an amazing 2022. The artist team of 19 led by Dawn Mendelson and Luz Mack created over 985 mosaics, including 5 large scale commissions and 40 personal commissions/award orders. In 2022, the participants artists earned over $130,000 income, more than any prior year! Much of this was possible thanks to a SAM Initiative grant that funded the addition of our Social Enterprise Operations Manager, Jadie Delgado. Some highlights are featured below.
200 W. Ocean
Piece by Piece had the good fortune to work with architect Hai Lin to create a unique piece of artwork for the spa and pool area of 200 Ocean Apartments in Long Beach.
The Brilliance of Community
Our team was proud to create this unique mural for an active community/senior center in the city of Paramount.
The Trust for Public Land commissioned Piece by Piece to work on a 50 ft mural that will be installed in mid 2023 in the City of South Gate.
Piece by Piece is honored to be working with Metro to design a mosaic mural that will honor a section of the National Veterans Mural by artist and U.S. Navy veteran Peter Stewart, originally dedicated in 1995, a portion of which will be decommissioned during the construction of the future Westwood/VA Hospital Station.
The Sarah Carpenter Memorial Gardens
The Piece by Piece artist team recently completed a series of California Native mosaic butterflies for the Dr. Carpenter Memorial Garden, in honor of the late Dr. Sarah Carpenter, who was an inspiration as both a leader and a physician at the Sandy Segal Youth Health Center.
Piece by Piece artists love making awards for our clients. This year we were honored to share in the celebrations and events for Women’s Leadership Network, Leadership CA, Eisner Health, Chrysalis, SWANA, Discovery Cube, California Parks & Recreation Society, and United Way to name a few.
Programs & Workshops
In May of 2022, we were able to welcome participant artists back to in-person classes in our new studio in South LA. It was wonderful to have both returning and new participant artists creating in the studio. We also continued to offer a zoom class for those who are not able to attend in person. We had 569 seats filled in our in-person classes and 1600+ views of our online classes. The visiting artist series also returned to in person workshops. This program brings renowned mosaic artists from all over the United State to Piece by Piece. These master-artists lead workshops that provide hands-on instruction in advanced mosaic art techniques to program participants. Some highlights from our classes and workshops are featured below.
Return to In-Person Classes
For the first time since COVID, in May we were able to start in-person classes again. Online classes have also continued for those that are not able to attend in person. It is wonderful to have people back in the studio and creating together!
The Directed Studies series brings visiting artists to Piece by Piece. These nationally renowned mosaic artists lead workshops that provide hands-on instruction in advanced mosaic art techniques to program participants.
Metamorphosis Art Show & Open House
On June 22, 2022 we welcomed guests for an art show and open house at our new location. Due to the pandemic, this was the first time in over two years that we could celebrate together! It was wonderful to see so many friends and supporters.
Piece by Piece is grateful for our parters in the community who help support and promote our mission. Below we highlight a few notable partenrships form 2022.
Thanks to their eye to community partnerships Piece by Piece artists were able to sell votives, frames, ornaments and custom pieces at the Immersive gift shop in Hollywood. This meaningful partnership has increase visibility for Piece by Piece and aslo helped increase sales.
Thanks to a long time partnership with NBC Universal, Piece by Piece once again made centerpieces for their annual event and were invited to sell our products at their subsidized employee holiday market.
Contemporary Artist Laura Letchinger once again invited Piece by Piece to exhibit along side her at her most 2022 gallery show "Moment to Moment". This built awareness of our programs and offered a new avenue for sales.
Hauser & Wirth are a long-time partner who sells Piece by Piece art in their gift shop. Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles presents art exhibitions, events, and learning activities which connect with the local community in a vibrant architectural space. We are grateful for their ongoing support.
Thank you to our funding partners!
Perenchio Foundation • Orange County Community Foundation • Council District 9 • LA Department of Cultural Affairs • The SAM Initiative • Bob & Nita Hirsch Foundation • Universal Discover a Star Foundation ECMC Foundation • National Endowment for the Arts Kelley Clarkson Show • Water Buffalo Club • Impact Assets
Little Pieces Youth Workshops
The week of Thanksgiving Piece by Piece hosted our first ever holiday break youth workshop! With support from The Water Buffalo Club, Piece by Piece has launched a series of workshops for children ages 7-18. The free mosaic workshops will be held during breaks and after-school aligning the Los Angles Unified School District (LAUSD) schedule. We have created these classes for students in our South LA community and surrounding areas. We were inspired to do this after finding there were not many free arts enrichment opportunities for local youth during these breaks. In our first cohort, we welcomed students ranging in age from 7-17 and they all enjoyed the chance to learn about mosaics and create mosaics of their own. Classes were led by mosaic artists Dawn Mendelson, Piece by Piece’s Artistic & Program Director, and Instructor Julie Williams.
The classes had an educational component where the students learned about the history of mosaics, but most of the time was spent creating mosaics, and having fun. One 5th grade student shared “ This is really relaxing and fun. It is helping me feel calm. It’s not like school.” Students were able to make their own ornaments and frames. They chose their materials, created their designs, and even grouted their pieces to create lasting keepsakes.
Piece by Piece is continuing to offer these classes throughout 2023. Please check the events page on our website to see when they are schedudled.
Get to know Piece by Piece artist Vicki M.
Piece by Piece supports participant artists as they heal from past trauma, focus on their mental wellbeing, and build community as they learn the art of mosaics. Each individual is unique and brings a with them a wealth of life experiences. The one commonality they all share is their steadfast commitment to rebuilding their lives through art! We are pleased to share Vicki's recent interview with you.
How did you find out about Piece by Piece?
I found out about Piece by Piece before I started coming in the summer of 2014. I found out about it through the economic development department because I was unemployed at the time. It was their old location in Marina Del Ray and it had brochures and mosaics from Piece by Piece - they were part of the decor in that office!
What do you like about PXP?
There are so many things because it’s such a large part of my life, I got an MFA in film production from USC and then came to Piece by Piece while unemployed and homeless and was going to try something different. Everything was changing all the time for me then and then I made my first frame (which I still have now)! After a little time I started talking about completing the certification program. Piece by Piece became an anchor for me. It helped me through that period. I had a lot of things going on, and it helped me have a more regular schedule. It helps with art therapy and I enjoy getting lost in it, and as your skills grow, you get more competent and get to practice completion. It’s hard to complete things in transitions, and it’s an opportunity to get back into completion mode and get things under control.
What inspires you?
So many things! Just the world itself. I think that as I complete each project, I get more inspired. Each project represents my development, my achievement, and I get excited to start the next project. You can just get inspired by the process.
What materials do you like to use?
I’ll use anything! I’ve mostly stuck to our standard, ceramic and glass. I feel more confident using things that I have more product knowledge about. How to clean it right, how to adhere it. I like to stick to what I know a bit more.
What do you want to learn more about?
There’s so much stuff! I would say working bigger for myself. I’m at the point where I can do more individual projects so I am working on that. We once did a show that was at the main museum and I wrote the intro for the show. They were so focused on studio space, especially in Skid Row, which is hard to come by. So I have the idea to work bigger.
Do you participate in other creative arts?
Oh yeah, I paint, I do pottery, anything that’s out there I’ll do! Music, I just do art period. Over the years I’ve been extremely varied.
What can/do you contribute to the PXP community?
This is a place with so many people rotating in and out, and I see myself as part of the DNA. The time I’ve spent here, my uniqueness, my education. I’ve been very devoted to art for such a long time.
Hear from a few other Piece by Piece Artists
Support Piece by Piece
It is because of you that Piece by Piece artists have the tools to transform their lives — thank you! We invite you to volunteer, donate, and share our mission to support the needed scaling of our offerings. Your support will increase the number of artists who will gain the skills needed to heal from trauma, creat mosaic art, and earn income in 2023.
Our Social Enterprise Is Growing
Building off a successful 2022, the social enterprise is looking to increase the number of paid artists by 25%, allowing us to increase capacity and take on even more commissions.
Supporting More Artists In Classes
Creating more opportunities for healing through art is a key goal for Piece by Piece. In 2023, we are expanding our roster of instructors to accommodate our goal of 30% increase in class attendance.
Our mosaic classes and workshops are the cornerstone of what we do. In 2023, we are excited to build off our base and add more resources for our participant artists including new local visiting artist classes and soft skills presentations and workshops.
Strengthening Connection To Community
Thanks to the Piece by Piece Advisory Board we have focused on outreach to the community to encourage more individuals whom have experienced homelessness or economic insecurity to engage with our programs.
Piece by Piece Team
Board of Directors
Sophie Alpert, Board Chair
Alan Alpert, Treasurer
Derek Alpert, Secretary
Wendy Colman Levin
Maggie Bohlman, Executive Director
Dawn Mendelson, Artistic & Program Director
Jadie Delgado, Operations Manager
Josh Provost, Operations Manager
Tasha Pimentel, Program Assistant
Luz Mack, Social Enterprise Manager
Dawn Mendelson, Artistic & Program Manager
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
- Press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection.