Monday, April 16, 2012

Black Men & Boys Series: Life Pieces To Masterpieces Transforms Lives Through Arts

Mary Brown (center), serves as the Executive Director and is Co-Founder of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc., a Washington, DC based organization that provides life enriching opportunities to African American boys and young men.  Mary, along with the apprentices and mentors in the photo, are all wearing "Shield of Faith" badges that represents the artistic and spiritual values embodied by the apprentices, staff members and volunteers of Life Pieces.

Welcome to BlackGivesBack’s first feature article for our Black Men and Boys series! Announced in January, the aim of this series is to dispel the negative stereotypes often depicted of black men and boys in the media by showcasing positive stories, and to highlight organizations, individuals, celebrities and foundations who are supporting black men and boys with innovative programs. As you read this article and the many to follow throughout the year, please think of ways you can support those featured, or those in your own community.  Let’s begin in Washington, DC!

Life Pieces To Master Pieces, Inc.

Readers in the Washington, DC area have probably heard of this innovative arts-based organization, that engages African American boys and young men (called apprentices) to channel their life experiences using the creation of acrylic collage paintings, original poetry, prose, oratory, movement/dance and music. Founded in 1996, the organization provides three main programs that includes daily participation in academic tutoring, mentoring, leadership and youth development, along with a specialized curriculum that has helped Life Pieces to achieve a 100% graduation rate for the past six years.

Mary Brown, co-founder of Life Pieces To Masterpieces shares,
“For the past six years, Life Pieces' innovative art and character education process has yielded consistent success - 100% of our apprentices have graduated high school and have been accepted to post-secondary education. Through one-to-one engagement with our boys we are able to impart our principle of shared humanity. Through our activities, our young boys grow up to be global citizens.”
The program addresses three specific critical needs for our young men: Positive role models, closing the achievement gap, and artistic expression.  Selected artwork by their apprentices have been displayed in the Anacostia Community Museum, African American History Museum, and Pepco Edison Place Art Gallery in 2011 and 2012. The organization is always looking for new partners to display their artwork in offices and public spaces.

In addition to their signature arts-based and academic programs, Life Pieces provides specialized programming for high school age students that uses their proven-effective Human Development System, and exposes their apprentices to various foreign cultures through their “Connecting Communities Across the Globe” summer program. The organization knows the importance of establishing strong partnerships that helps them to fulfill their mission. Among their partners are the Corcoran School of Art and Design that provides graduate students to assist with their art/creative expression program, and George Washington University that provides in-kind classroom space for their Saturday Academy.

The organization has had many successes, including Mary Brown named as a 2012 Washingtonian of the Year, and Life Pieces selected as one of the region's best nonprofits by the 2011-12 Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington.

Visit the Life Pieces To Masterpieces website at for information on their upcoming ‘Songs in the Key of Life Pieces’ concert fundraiser on May 5, 2012, 7 pm at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.   Follow on Twitter @LP2MP and Facebook here.  Know an innovative program serving black men and boys?  Let us know by sending an email to info[at]blackgivesback[dot]com.