Public Works

In addition to teaching individual artists how to cultivate expertise in the mosaic medium, CMS is also committed to sharing our art form with our community and world. Over the years we have been privileged to partner with many schools, businesses, organizations, and city districts to create lasting public artwork that can be enjoyed by all. 

In 2019, five CMS faculty, (Sue Giannotti, Sue Coombs, Casey Van Loon, Martha Crandall, and founding executive director Karen Ami) traveled to Humacao, Puerto Rico to install 104 mosaic peace signs that were designed and assembled by communities in both Chicago and Puerto Rican artists. To learn more about the project, visit our post Humacao, Puerto Rico, 2019.

In 2016, CMS partnered with Von Steuben High School to create a mosaic project for their incoming freshman as part of their 3-week Freshman Connection program. Together, CMS and Von Steuben developed a design related to the theme of "Connections" as a way of beautifying our school. This project was sponsored by the Creative Schools Fund Grant, awarded to Von Steuben to complete this project.

In 2017, CMS partnered with Frederick Stock School as recipients of an Ingenuity Grant from the Creative Schools Fund. CMS faculty designed and oversaw the construction of a mosaic mural inspired by the children’s book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The book follows a frustrated young artist named Vashti as she finds her creative voice, and tells the story of how any child can learn to be an artist if they start with a dot. Instructors worked with approximately 250 young artists of different educational needs as they learn to exercise their creative instincts just like Vashti. Each student created an 8” x 8” mosaic circle that was then be assembled together to form a beautiful multicolored mural for the outdoor walls of Stock School. It was installed in May and dedicated in a ceremony on July 14th, 2017.

For four years between 2013 and 2017, CMS partnered with Coonley Elementary School in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago. Over the years, each 5th grade class contributed to a series of mosaic murals depicting the four seasons. In 2017, CMS also worked with the Coonley 8th grade to design and fabricate a mosaic mural archway inspired by the City of Chicago.

This mosaic mural was a collaboration between Columbia College and the Chicago Mosaic School as part of an ongoing program at Columbia called "Critical Encounters" that is intended to address social and ethical issues through the lens of art and design. The installation was completed in spring of 2012.

This mosaic was created as a collaborative project with selected lead artists from core CMS staff and the fine arts department at NEIU. Studio art students were challenged to create a design that complemented the architectural features of the newly designed Pedroso Student Center. The composition features a broad abstract design that incorporates natural imagery such as landscape, foliage, and seed-like forms within an overlaid honeycomb pattern.

The Weisman Park Playlot fountain was a commission taken on by CMS in 2011. The playful design of the fountain mural was conceived by CMS core faculty instructor Martha Crandall.

These mosaic sculptures were commissioned and created in conjunction with the Cool Globes organization, which is a public art exhibit that raises awareness of global warming and environmental issues. Both were designed by CMS founder and director Karen Ami. The first globe, "Windy City Andamento," made in 2008, celebrates sustainable energy by depicting three-armed forms that mimic the shape of wind turbines encircling the globe. They surrounded by a swirling airy pattern of tesserae, which draws comparisons between the fluid movement of the air and the sinuous flow of mosaic Andamento. The second globe, "Green Manufacturing," highlights the subject of sustainable manufacturing by depicting brilliant flowers erupting from smokestacks in the place of smoke. The globes are part of a traveling exhibit that has visited Copenhagen, London, Geneva, San Francisco, and Houston; it was most recently located in Brooklyn, NY.

Working with the East Lakeview Chamber of Commerce from 2009 to 2010, CMS staff designed this mosaic for installation on the corner of W. Oakdale Avenue and N. Broadway Street with the aim of enlivening and beautifying the public space. They prepped materials and then set up a booth at the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts, inviting local members of the community to help complete the design throughout the festival. The mosaic was completed and installed by CMS staff and volunteers, and dedicated in ceremony in 2010.

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