Villas at Gower
When Piece by Piece was founded by Sophie Alpert, the goal was to provide a much-needed source of supplemental income to recently homeless and very low income residents of inner city Los Angeles. It quickly became much more. Under the tutelage of a team of professional artists, participants’ skills in the medium far exceeded expectations. Several smaller group projects made it evident these Piece by Piece artists were ready for something big. When the opportunity presented itself to apply for a public art project, Sophie Alpert took it.
Throughout the process, Piece by Piece worked closely with the construction crew, architects, fabrication artists, and those who would be involved in the final installation of the artwork. The building, Villas at Gower, would be new permanent supportive housing for homeless, at-risk of homelessness or families dealing with mental illness.
Piece by Piece instructor artists Luz Mack Durini and Dawn Mendelson collaborated on the original design concept. Inspired by the garden and its abundant sense of wonder and beauty in nature, they developed a series of ten leaves, each its own oasis of inspiration. Every leaf features a flower symbolizing a human quality we aspire to in our everyday lives. The rose, for example, symbolizes love; the chrysanthemum, optimism; the magnolia, dignity.
The team of artist instructors worked together to fine-tune the design. Piece by Piece instructor Leigh Adams added both her experience in the garden as artist in residence at the L.A. Arboretum and her technical prowess in cutting skills. Bea Jones was a steady force, working on every aspect of the project. But it was the Piece by Piece participant artists who gave their best work, their dedication, and their enthusiasm to make the project move forward. They worked together twice a week as a team and inspired not only each other, but the whole Piece by Piece family.
When the leaves were completed, there was a great sense of accomplishment by all. Our artists demonstrated true teamwork, showing anything can be achieved if we work together. This public art project became more than making some extra money. It became a sense of pride, a feeling of belonging, a drive to succeed.
Year Installed: 2014
Comissioned by: 200 Ocean, LLC
Size: Series of 10 leaves, ranging in size from 3 ft to 6 ft
Materials: Ceramic tile
Viewing: Gated courtyard, not public
Address: 6109 Carlos Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028