Karen Ami

Meet Karen Ami

Karen was born in Chicago, raised in Indiana and Illinois. She attended The Boston Museum School, Tufts University (BFA, 1986) and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA, 1995) majoring in ceramics and sculpture. In 2005, she founded The Chicago Mosaic School the first and only first Not-For-Profit school for Mosaic Arts Education outside of Europe. The school recently made a move to Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood- on Granville Avenue, where is continues to attract both artists and students from around the world.

She is President Emeritus of The Society of American Mosaic Artists, teaches and lectures internationally and is a curator of contemporary mosaic exhibitions. She exhibits her sculptural mosaics, drawings and ceramic works in national and international venues. She was the first American artist to be awarded first prize in the Prix Picassiette International Exhibition in 2014 for her work, “The Dialogue” and in 2015 The Museum of Bibical Art, Dallas Texas acquired her mosaic work, “TEN”, for their permanent collection.

In 2017 her work will be shown in  in Kyoto, Japan, and a solo exhibition at SXU Gallery, Chicago in October, and at SOFA Chicago, Navy Pier in November 2017. She is mother to three outstanding musician sons, loves heavy metal music, depraved humor, excellent red wine and lives and works in Chicago.


What inspires you?

Passion mixed with discipline and integrity. LOVE.
People who fight for injustice and equality and try to make the world a better place.
My three amazing sons. My moms. Survivors. Beautiful people who leave their egos at the door and fight for the greater good. 


What do you suck at?

Math. I believe I am missing the left side of my brain. I struggled through ALL of high school trying to pass Algebra 1. I haven’t been able to help my son with math homework since he was halfway through 3rd grade, which he thinks is hilarious. But I am great at asking for help when I need it.


What do you believe?
Pay it forward. Do good for someone without expecting anything in return and you can start to change the world. I refuse to surrender hope.


What do you geek out about?
How to learn better. How to get an education first by seeking out excellent, experienced teachers, specifically as an artist. I love getting into it with creatives who think they know everything and don't see education as a life long process. Knowledge makes people humble and arrogance makes people ignorant. Its easier to learn marketing than art. True masters know they are always students.


Favorite quote?
The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at age 90. “Because I think I am making progress”, he replied.


Want more?  Go take a class at the Chicago Mosaic School! View her portfolio here. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


Photo Credit: Jamie Kelter Davis Photography