Throughout April, the Gutman Library’s first-floor gallery space was home to a collection of collaboratively created works by underprivileged African American youths. The “Life Pieces to Masterpieces” exhibit, comprising 29 pieces, touched on subject matters ranging from Cirque du Soleil to absent fathers to Mitt Romney. (View full slideshow on the Library Portal.)

The artists, ages 3 to 25, live in some of Washington, D.C.’s most volatile and poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The works are created as part of a curriculum developed by Life Pieces to Masterpieces, a nonprofit whose primary aim is to improve the young men and boys’ emotional awareness and academic and professional achievements through their proprietary art-based character education program.

The works are just a happy byproduct. “I don’t view them as art, I view them as life experiences,” says Selvon Waldron, deputy director of Life Pieces to Masterpieces. “Our young men are very honored to be showing at Harvard.”

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