ALEXANDRIA, VA -- Coverings, the largest global tile and stone exposition in North America, has partnered with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and Chicago Mosaic School to develop unique programs that investigate the use of tile as a medium for creative design. Coverings attendees will have the opportunity to view an exhibition of tiled benches, designed and built by students from SAIC and participate in interactive educational classes presented by the Chicago Mosaic School when the show takes place April 18th to 21st at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

"Partnerships with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Mosaic School not only allow Coverings to support the dynamic creative landscape in Chicago, but also provide opportunities for Coverings attendees to think about tile and stone materials in unexpected ways," said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. "These programs challenge both future and current tile and stone industry professionals to truly understand just what these materials are capable of producing for design projects and how their qualities are best utilized from a technical standpoint."

Over the course of a three week workshop, SAIC students studying architecture, interior architecture and fine arts, will learn about the process of selecting tile materials, creating construction and installation drawings and fabricating and installing the product to look and perform optimally. During the course, the National Tile Contractors Association will provide instruction on installation techniques, methods and standards. Teams of students will then collaborate to create benches that incorporate tile and stone as the primary construction material. These benches will be on display for Coverings attendees to enjoy, and a panel will judge the benches for the most creative design and exceptional technical execution during a special ceremony held Monday, April 18th at 4:30 p.m.

"The creation of this workshop course with Coverings gives SAIC students the means to explore materials and techniques in collaborative and engaging ways while establishing connections with the professional world," said Guinevere Johnson, course director and lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. "It also will expose this student group to not only the many ways in which tile can be used, but the wide range of professional opportunities available in this international industry – ranging from highly technical skilled work to creative product design."

Through the partnership with the Chicago Mosaic School, Coverings attendees will have an opportunity to interact with tile as a creative medium during workshop and demonstration sessions held at the show. During the demonstration sessions, Chicago Mosaic School instructors will educate attendees on how the different tools and materials can create various mosaic effects, while the interactive workshops will provide hands-on introductions to materials best suited to mosaic applications and the techniques required for handling and application during a mosaic project.

"There is an extraordinarily vast opportunity to use tile in creative and artistic expressions," said Karen Ami, founder and executive director of the Chicago Mosaic School. "Holding these sessions at Coverings creates an opportunity for trade professionals, whether designers or contractors, to interact with tile in an imaginative way that allows them to expand their material vocabulary."

Two workshops and two demonstrations will be held each day on April 18th to 20th, with limited capacity for each session. Advanced registration for the workshops and demonstrations is required and can be completed during general show registration.