Life Pieces To Masterpieces

WISH LIST: $200: new industrial-quality sewing machine; $800: healthy food for the apprentices for 2 weeks; $1000: 1 month's worth of art supplies

At first glance, there is meager material for artistic inspiration in Washington’s public housing projects. Young males living east of the Anacostia River often grow up without fathers, in families plagued by poverty and substance abuse. But at Life Pieces to Masterpieces, “apprentices” use paint, storytelling, rap, and poetry to make something of great beauty out of their lives. The group takes its name from the unique art its members collectively create – painting canvas, cutting it into shapes, and sewing the pieces together to tell real life stories. Combining arts instruction with human development, LPTM’s accomplishments are stunning: close to zero percent of participants become involved in the juvenile justice system or father an illegitimate child, 100% graduate (compared to 40% of African-American males across DC), and the group has created some 1,000 works of art. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, LPTM has grown from 40 to nearly 120 apprentices and has earned new credibility in the community. This is an exceptional group, doing extraordinary work: won’t you become part of the picture?