For the second consecutive year, Eli’s was delighted to host a lunch for local mosaic artist, Carolyn Elaine, as part of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs “have Lunch with an Artist,” one of the many activities of Chicago Artist’s Month.

Carolyn is a talented mosiac artist who has a specialty in creating major mosiac pieces in communities throughout the City. For lunch, we were joined by our community partners, Wright College President, Chuck Guengerich, New Horizons Center for Developmentally Disabled Executive Director, Carol Kilcoyne, and Principal, Jane Rubenstein, and Vaughn Occupational High School, Principal, Nancy Mayer, and Art Instructor, Sara Ingraffia.

We had a great discussion on the importance of art in the community and how we can work together to showcase art that is created by our local students and also work that is tied to our people and our business at Eli’s.

Thank you, Commissioner Lois Weisberg, of the Department of Cultural Affairs for creating this opportunity for our community to honor one great Chicago artist.

Carolyn Elaine

Carolyn Elaine received her BA from Western Illinois University in Macomb and her BFA from the International Academy of Merchandise and Design in Chicago. After studying the history of ceramic tile in Portugal, Carolyn was invited to participate in a mosaic tile project at her daughters preschool. There, an accomplished Chicago Public Art Group artist, Mirtes Zwierzynski, introduced her to the techniques of mosaic. This relationship developed into a three-year apprenticeship where Elaine was able to hone her mosaic skills under professional tutelage. Since her initial introduction to CPAG in 1999, Elaine has produced many mosaics, paintings, and sculptures under the auspices of CPAG. Her list of public art works include projects in communities such as Cabrini Green, Austin Park, Chatham Avalon, and the Garfield Park Conservatory. Elaine has also been invited to dozens of Chicago area schools to work with students on large-scale collaborative art projects, promoting art literacy, self-expression, and cultural awareness to today’s youth. Elaine is now a Core Artist of the Chicago Public Art Group, an instructor at the Harrington Institute of Interior Design, and a residency artist for Gallery 37, Urban Gateways, and Art Resources in Teaching.


Carolyn Elaine Artist Statement
Art is a gift that has been with me all my life, in one form or another. As a child I remember my father’s many stories about his involvement as a community muralist, most notably, his contribution to theWall of Respect. As a second-generation artist, my decision several years ago to choose art as a career was a choice to answer a call that I could no longer ignore.

I believe that artmaking honors the creator in all of us. It is deeply spiritual and essential to the growth of our global society. It is my belief that creating artwork in a public medium also creates a platform for healing.

I have identified an intrinsic connection between artmaking and life itself. My artwork—as well as my life—will be positive and successful as long as I remain authentic to my spirit. What is most important in my art and my life is fully experiencing the process, not fully controlling the outcome.

My work takes its own path. As a teaching artist, I instill this philosophy in my students. My priority as an educator is to guide students through the process of artmaking, allowing them to explore, express, and experience it for themselves. I inevitably control the project, but the students control their creative expressions. Being instrumental in their self-discovery process is a true blessing and a vital part of my journey because they too may be summoned to answer the call one day.