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Sophie Alpert: Founder of Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece provides free art workshops to individuals in Los Angeles who have faced financial insecurity and homelessness. Creating mosaic art pieces helps workshop participants build confidence and express themselves in a creative, fulfilling medium. Piece by Piece's vibrant, talented community teaches artists how to make an income to provide stability and works to improve their quality of life. Learn more about their impactful work here!

What inspired you to start Piece by Piece?

In 2006 I took a trip to South Africa where I visited several micro-enterprise agencies helping women who were HIV positive earn income by selling handcrafted beaded items. The women were given minimal instruction and free materials. I was very inspired and decided to use that model to help individuals in our own underserved communities. In my twenties, I had worked at a child care center in Skid Row in Los Angeles and was very affected by the homelessness situation, especially the neglected children I met. As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I grew up grateful for the many blessings in my life and felt compelled to give back. After the trip to South Africa, I was determined to create a program that would empower individuals to improve their lives.

What do your workshops entail?

Our mosaic workshops are open to the community. Instruction and materials are free of charge. Professional mosaic artist instructors teach the classes in a very nurturing environment, meeting each individual where they are at, providing a healing, therapeutic space. There is a certification program for participants that want to develop skills to work on commissions and earn income. Self-expression, creativity and improved self-confidence are natural outcomes of our program. Materials include found and donated objects such as recycled glass, broken china, tile and ceramics. Putting broken and discarded pieces together to create beautiful new art is a metaphor for participants in our program that are healing through art, giving their lives new meaning.

Can you tell me about your involvement in the greater community? 

I am involved with several organizations helping to raise awareness and seek solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. Additionally, I am on the board of the SAM Initiative, a women’s giving circle, which helps fund and support exceptional innovative programs in Los Angeles that promote social change. I volunteer as a child advocate for refugee minors through the Young Center and have also volunteered as a translator with Beth Tzedek, an organization that provides free legal services to help undocumented immigrant families.


What is the best part of your job? 

I love sharing Piece by Piece with other individuals and organizations. Walking into a workshop (even after 16 years) is always inspiriting! The art is incredible and the positive energy in the room is palpable. Many of our participants lives have been transformed through the healing power of our art workshops There is a sense of community and gratefulness that is hard to describe. The staff, volunteers and participants are all passionate and their positive energy is contagious.


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