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Grand Prairie Independent School District Selected for Social Justice Education Grant

The Grand Prairie Independent School District Fine Arts Department has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Teaching Tolerance, a national anti-bias organization and project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, to fund a public art project that will support culturally responsive practices, support students to thrive in a diverse democracy, and promote critical thinking about injustice and collective action. The Grand Prairie LOVE Project will fund a collaborative art project with 50 visual arts teachers, 1,500 students, and Pulitzer Prize winner Karen Blessen, artistic director and founder of 29 Pieces. The seven–month project commences in August 2018 and will culminate in a district and city-wide exhibition of 1,500 paintings and drawings, focused on themes of diversity, understanding, mutual respect, and the guiding question: How can a variety of voices work together to build a compassionate community?

"29 Pieces is honored to collaborate with Grand Prairie ISD on the LOVE Project. We will delve into the core of human needs and celebrate the healing power of love and kindness. We are grateful that this work is made possible by Teaching Tolerance, a project of the prestigious Southern Poverty Law Center.” — Karen Blessen, Executive Artistic Director & Founder, 29 Pieces

“I am thrilled that art students and teachers will have this opportunity in the coming school year to work with Karen Blessen and 29 Pieces in the creation of The Grand Prairie LOVE Project. As students develop personal art, they will develop tools to think critically about and value different perspectives and ideas. They will learn how to relate current events to personal experience, how art can be a tool for social change, and how artists continue to be leaders in social justice movements.” —Judith Stone-Nunneley, Project Coordinator; GPISD Artist-in-Residence and Visual Arts Coordinator

“Teachers and administrators know best how to come up with innovative ways to teach their students to fight prejudice and hate. We want to help them turn those ideas into projects that will have a big impact on the way students see themselves, and how they view and treat others.” — Maureen Costello, Teaching Tolerance Director