Karen Johnson Boyd has supported the arts broadly, but with a particular interest in crafts, as a collector, donor, board member, publisher, sponsor of museums and exhibitions, and as owner and president of Chicago's Perimeter Gallery. She has focused on emerging artists, collecting their work and documenting their careers. She has promoted a broader perspective on art by assembling museum-quality examples of contemporary craft and exhibiting them in the larger context of painting and sculpture.
Boyd was exposed to art early as her grandfather was a Post-Impressionist painter and head of the art faculty at Cornell University. She also grew up in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and later had him design her own.
Boyd’s support for artists and their careers has extended naturally to museum collections, exhibitions and educational programs. The Cooper-Hewitt, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Racine Art Museum have all benefited from her support. Boyd has donated over 1,000 works to the Racine Art Museum's permanent collection.