29 Pieces Story

(f/k/a Today Marks the Beginning)

In 2005, Karen Blessen, an artist, writer, and first ever recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for graphic art, along with Dr. Barbara Miller, Executive Director of Baylor College of Dentistry, and others, founded Today Marks the Beginning.  TMtB’s mission was to use the vehicle of artistic creativity to advance social justice and peace.  There is a power to art that helps individuals and groups “see” and “feel” important issues in a way that moves them to action. 

From our founding in 2005 until 2007, TMtB focused on organizational development:  we obtained IRS 501(c)(3) designation, formed a board of directors, recruited an advisory board, created and sold art products, and attracted hundreds of generous supporters. During this period we also developed and implemented five major projects.  The efforts were funded through individual contributions, volunteer support, self-funding projects, collaboration with other organizations, and grants.  In the 2008-2009 academic year, we piloted the MasterPEACE program in seven Dallas ISD schools and Parish Episcopal School.  Beginning with the 2009-2010 academic year and continuing in 2010-2011, we refined the program, and developed a draft manual for the curriculum in order to extend the program and its impact. 

During the same time period, 29 Pieces was founded by Karen Blessen as a non-profit organization focused on the creation of monumental art and monumental change.  The art – 29 pieces of sculpture as large as 60 feet tall - brings to life the inspired messages and sacred words of spiritual visionaries throughout history.   The 29 Pieces sculptures, and the stories behind them, are the basis for exhibits, performances, and workshops that uplift and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.  The similarity in mission and message from both entities – 29 Pieces and TMtB – precipitated the merger of both non-profit organizations in June 2011. The combined mission is to use art to uplift and heal. The merger will best utilize resources and strengthen the impact on the community. 

The combined operation is known as 29 Pieces with two current major projects:  the MasterPEACE program that takes the message into schools in the metroplex, and the Creative Connection through Art and Meditation, which is a series of workshops planned for veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as any interested other people.


Board of Directors