Today we are proud to highlight the work of Nicole Krayneski James, Drake Alum, inspiring art teacher, mosaic artist, and chicken owner. Nicole is the last artist we are highlighting this winter as part of our series that showcases works and impacts by Drake Art + Design Alums. Thanks for tuning in!


Nicole Krayneski James was born in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to Iowa to attend Drake University. She received a BFA in Sculpture and shortly after obtained a MAT in Secondary Art Teaching. During her student teaching experience, her mentor teacher asked her to teach a lesson on mosaics. She was quickly intrigued by the art form. This led to teaching a class on mosaics at the Des Moines Art Center, which lead to working full-time in the studio education department for several years. After staying home with her four boys, she has returned to teaching art and is currently teaching in Johnston. She lives in Beaverdale with her husband, boys, dog, and lots of chickens. 


Mosaics have been my main art medium for several years now. With a busy life teaching and raising for boys, creating them can be the most practical as I can work on them for little bits at a time. When I was painting, I would try to capture small moments of life when the light was just right and everything is still. These are my favorite moments to capture in glass. Although these moments may just last a few minutes, the glass gives it permanence. I also like to have fun with the glass, exploring color theory and how it differs from other mediums.  


Polk County Diversity Mural Designed and Completed by Nicole’s students at Roosevelt High School in Spring 2019