CMS Certification Program

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One of distinctions that make CMS a truly one-of-a-kind organization, one program in particular separates us from other art centers and educators that offer instruction in Mosaic Arts– our Certification Program.

The main mission of the Chicago Mosaic School has always been to provide serious training in mosaic arts overseen by academically trained artists who are acknowledged experts in their medium. In 2013, CMS Founder and Executive Director Karen Ami and lead CMS faculty members decided to take this mission to its natural conclusion and launch a program for Certification in Mosaic Arts. The CMS Certification program, like our school, is the only one of its kind in North America. Responding to a significant gap in both collegiate fine art curricula and the mosaic arts world, the program was designed with the goal of providing a syllabus of studio courses and workshops of increasing rigor, on par with requirements in a BFA degree program.

The full program takes 2-3 years to complete and focuses on many of the key elements of any formal art education: demonstrating material knowledge, improving technique and aesthetic sensibility, and developing an artistic voice. The intent of the program is not only to help create a higher standard of formal expectations in mosaic arts, but also to help contribute to a new generation of artists trained to teach an art form one that has existed for thousands of years, and steward it into the future.

Our certification students follow a curriculum of 14 core classes and two elective workshops. Once they have taken a given course, the students then return to their studios to create individual projects that implements the lesson- applying the techniques and materials they’ve recently learned. After completing their project for each class, the work is subject to strict academic critique from the CMS faculty. In addition, students incorporate the techniques as they continue to build a body of work. Certification students have to complete a portfolio review, pass a written and practical exam, and complete a research paper on a historical topic in mosaics before being awarded their CMS Certification.

The CMS Certification Program has seen wonderful growth in just a few short years. Over 20 students have been enrolled in the program, and with the schools’ recent move and expansion, we are hoping to be a beacon for artists who are looking for serious opportunities to study mosaics.

CMS has high hopes for the certification program to play a significant role in our long-term growth. Our long-term goal is to partner with accredited universities and colleges and fill in the gaps in their fine art curricula using our long-established reputation for artistic expertise, and high caliber methods and materials. Our reputation as an academically rigorous, certificate granting organization is already being acknowledged by local educational institutions. In the past, CMS has partnered with Columbia College, Northeastern Illinois University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Harold Washington College to create and teach course offerings. With our Certification program, we are asserting the need for formal training in the medium, not as a one-off class or historical curiosity, but as a vibrant, relevant, contemporary medium worthy of intense academic study and elevation in the world of fine art.

We encourage any individuals interested in pursuing a certification in mosaic art to check out our program page!



 Elective Courses (Choose 2)

Modern Expressions with Verdiano Marzi
Monochromatic with Toyoharu Kii
Picassiette: Storytelling in Mosaic with Pamela Irving
•Sculptural Forms/Substrates
•Ceramic and Mosaic II (forms and sculpture)

Upon Completion of the class/workshop requirements:

•Faculty Review / Assessment
•Portfolio Review
•Research Paper, Power point, or Video


•Students begin the program with a orientation session with an assigned Faculty Advisor.

Faculty Advisors

•Students will be assigned 2 faculty advisors for the duration of the program. They will be available to you for questions and periodic check-ins and evaluations.

Research Paper/Presentation

•Students will be required to write one research paper or presentation. Topics will be discussed with the faculty advisor.

Portfolio Review

• Reviews and final assessments will take place after completion of the coursework. Students must show independent studio work as well as completed class projects.

Please email us at with any questions or to begin enrollment.


Enrollment is open; you may apply at any time. Please follow these steps below:

Go here to pay the application fee online.

•Request an application form via email at

•Please submit all application materials in a single email to:

 •A non-refundable $300 application fee is required upon application. Classes and workshops can be purchased on the CMS website individually at the regular course fee.


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