- Alumni Story
Heilicher alumnus Adam Ward has taken his passion for art and learning to new levels with LEGO® bricks and a new book.
Kids everywhere love to play with LEGO® bricks, as they are among the most popular and enduring toys. Adam Ward, who attended Heilicher in the early 1990s through fifth grade, has made a whole career out of LEGO, inspiring a new generation of youth and adults to build, create, and explore.
Adam first became interested in LEGO at the age of two, and the interlocking building blocks continued to be a passion for him throughout childhood. After mostly taking a break from LEGO during high school and college, Adam reconnected with it in his mid-20s while living as an actor and writer in Los Angeles and seeking to decorate his apartment. He used his childhood LEGO to build practical items for his home, including bedside tables, coasters, and lamps. Adam quickly realized that LEGO bricks were not only useful but a great outlet for his tremendous energy and creativity.
Adam began posting his creations online, and, fueled by a Kickstarter campaign, he soon launched an online business, Adam Builds (now called Peace + Bricks). Through his business, Adam customized and built special-order household items from LEGO. In 2015, Adam launched a video series, “Brick x Brick,” with how-to instructions for building a wide variety of practical, creative, and decorative LEGO items. This highly popular show ran for four years and confirmed what Adam knew to be true—LEGO can be a great outlet for people of all ages.
In December 2020, Adam released his first book, Brick x Brick: How to Build Amazing Things with 100-ish Bricks or Fewer (Penguin Randomhouse). This book gives children and adults instructions for fun LEGO builds and crafts, along with trivia, micro-challenges, and advice to boost people’s creative confidence. Adam also continues to create and sell larger structures and artwork out of LEGO bricks and works with the LEGO company on a variety of content and promotions, including for the show “LEGO Masters,” where teams compete to build the best LEGO projects.
Reflecting on his Heilicher experience, Adam said that he felt very special there and has particularly fond memories of Helen Siegel (who retired as Associate Head of School in 2017), and Elly Becker (a long-time faculty member who retired in 2018). Not surprisingly, he also recalls having fun in the art room—and always making a mess!
One of Adam’s core beliefs is that whatever we need, we have around us. Growing up, there was no such thing as a LEGO Ninja Turtle, so Adam had to create one! “Creative people do not believe in object fixedness,” said Adam. “Instead, creative people will see many different uses for an object. LEGO allows us to see items as possibilities. The past 1.5 years has taught us that pivoting and ‘making magic’ with what we have is the best way to maintain sanity, and LEGO is the perfect vehicle for doing that.”
Adam and his wife, Stacey, live in Los Angeles with their two rad daughters, Plum and Storey. To see more of Adam’s work, visit his website www.peaceandbricks.com and follow him on Instagram at @peaceandbricks.