If you've toured Rome's ancient treasures or have gazed at Chicago street murals, longing to make something so beautiful, the Chicago Mosaic School is for you. Know that hundreds of striving artists have acted on that same impulse, some of them coming from out-of-town to pack the center's workshops and classes. This intense demand prompted the school's move, in November 2006, to its 5,000 square-foot Ravenswood home.
CMS is the first Mosaic Art School in the U.S. and the only Chicago institution focusing solely on the ancient art form. Accredited courses are offered in partnership with Harold Washington College, typically lasting eight weeks and covering a variety of interior and exterior mosaic application styles. Courses typically cost $225-275. If you'd prefer dabbling for an afternoon, a workshop costs around $125. To supplement classwork, students are encouraged to attend open studio time on Sundays ($10/session or $30 for a 4-session pass) and to participate in the school's online support network.
Executive Director Karen Ami founded the school to provide more formal training in an art form that rewards precision. She completed her Masters at the School of the Art Institute and has exhibited and completed commissions across Chicagoland and abroad. Through her extensive connections, Ami provides residencies for renowned teaching artists from countries steeped in the mosaic traditions, including Italy, England, and Israel.
Chicagoans have likely seen the work of CMS students around town. Students and instructors collaborated on mosaic columns displayed at the 2007 Coverings international trade show at McCormick Place and on a fiberglass sculpture promoting wind power and eco-friendly practices for the citywide Cool Globes project.
Centerstage Reviewer: Justin Sondak