EDGEWATER — Edgewater's art corridor along Granville Avenue and North Broadway is growing with its newest addition: The Chicago Mosaic School.
Currently in Ravenswood, the non-profit school will move into the former Blue Buddha Boutique at 1127 W. Granville Ave.
The school has been at 1806 W. Cuyler Ave. for 11 years, but Ami said recently she's noticed more and more artists leaving the Ravenswood area.
Not just that, but her two best friends of 25 years live and own "thriving" businesses in Edgewater: Uncommon Ground and Bark Bark Club.
"We've been looking for a while to go to an area that's more diversified, is near public transportation, serves different kinds of communities," said Karen Ami, founder and executive director at the school.
The new location, described by Ami as an "art center," will be renovated into 11 artist studios, a large gallery, two supply shops, a gathering space and more.
Chicago Mosaic School was founded in 2005 and is the only of its kind in the United States and takes on serious projects and skills (though it is open to beginners, too) when it comes to learning classical and modern styles of mosaics.
The nonprofit draws in artists and students from around the world, and offers dozens of classes, workshops, visiting artist lectures and private studios.
Those visiting artists and students then become part of the community at large, Ami said.
"These folks are going to be introduced to Edgewater — we have visiting artists that come from Italy, France, Japan," Ami said. "It's an amazing cultural exchange as well as an artistic exchange."
Though the organization primarily serves as a fine arts academy to college-age students and older (and offers the only certificate program in specialized mosaic art), Chicago Mosaic School is also partnered with After School Matters and Chicago Public Schools.
First and foremost, the school considers itself an educational arts nonprofit with a community emphasis, Ami said.
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) called the move "another great addition to the vibrant arts community taking root along Granville."
In the meantime, Ami said she'd like Edgewater residents to come meet her and check out the school at its Ravenswood location.
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