The design of Pieces Together was inspired by the idea that each part of the whole is integral, as in a jigsaw puzzle. Artist Lawrence Argent saw parallels between puzzle pieces and all the voices of a community. To hear these voices firsthand, Argent spent a week in Willowbrook where he interviewed local residents. They answered questions like, "What is your hope for your community?" and spoke about their connections to art and creativity. The interviews capture moments of personal struggle and triumph, and have been compiled and edited for viewing on this website.
At the conclusion of the interviews, Argent collected three dimensional data scans of each individual’s lips. The facial scans were massed together, forming one side of the sculpture that from afar looks like undulating topography. Following the curve of the entry roundabout where the artwork is located, the viewer encounters the other side where a spiral passes through one open mouth, signifying a single breath that unites all voices into one.
Classically trained craftsmen at Dingli Stone Carving worked for eight months to hand carve the intricate details. The artwork was constructed as a puzzle within a puzzle. Made of gray granite and comprised of twelve separate pieces, each was engineered to fit together seamlessly. The result is a monument to the community 18’ high, 7’ wide, 20’ long and weighing 110 tons.
Pieces Together is meant to be a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, the local community and the power of the collective to affect positive change. It was commissioned through Los Angeles County’s Civic Art Policy, which allocates one percent of capital projects to the creation of civic art. The Los Angeles County Arts Commission manages and implements the County’s Civic Art Policy.
Pieces Together was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, HMC Architects, and the generosity of committed volunteers and local residents.