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Restoring the P.I.E.C.E.S.

People Inspired Encouraging Community Empowerment and Strength


Project Video:

The mission of Restoring the P.I.E.C.E.S is to reconnect schools that have been impacted by violence with their surrounding communities through student-led public art projects. Create an atmosphere where all community stakeholders can work collaboratively toward the restoration of victims and communities. Develop a creative process that empowers students with a visual voice that responds to their needs as they see them, while gifting the community with a public artwork that serves as a reminder of what is possible through cohesiveness.

Sponsored School:

Inaugural Project: Fenger High School is the first school of the CPS family to participate in Restoring the P.I.E.C.E.S.

Fenger is situated in a high-crime, high-violence, and high-poverty community. The recent murder of an honor student was not the school’s first violent incident – Fenger has a long history of fatal shootings. This incident drew particular media attention because a witness recorded a video of the beating on a cell phone. The video appeared on major news sites and on YouTube, and the story made headlines in newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.


This grass roots, community based mural project will bring Fenger students together with parents, staff, administrators, alumni and community in a peaceful and creative atmosphere. Together these community stake holders can confront and reckon with the past as a necessary transition from conflict, resentment and tension, to peace and connectedness. Students and parents will work with professional artists, a nationally renowned genealogist, peace circle facilitators and videographers throughout the Spring semester to develop the design composition and gather film footage for a documentary. Together they will work along-side alumni and community volunteers, in a three day Community Participation Event scheduled May 13, 14 and 15 of 2010, to complete the fabrication of the 700 sq ft mural and acknowledge all participants and contributors. Invitations will be extended to city officials, local businesses and the media.


The Fenger High school community is still trying to cope with the emotional impact of Derrion’s death and the negative view of the school that was spread around the world like a virus. The goal of this Restoring the P.I.E.C.E.S. project is to assist students in developing a renewed sense of self-identity, belonging, and personal worth by focusing on their strengths in a high quality artistic experience supported by the community. The hope is that students will shift from the isolation brought on by the negative media attention, to a sense of collaboration, by bringing their personal creative energy to work as a team toward a common purpose.


Nothing is wrong with our young people, their parents, our schools or our communities. Nothing is wrong; however a great deal is missing. From a place of NOTHING comes the possibility of EVERYTHING, but we must first Restore the P.I.E.C.E.S.

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