Skip to main content


Ingrid AlbrechtIngrid E.  Albrecht

Course(s): Watercolor

Ingrid Albrecht has a Fine Arts Degree from the American Academy of Art, and a MA and BS from Southern Illinois University. She is a nationally awarded artist and has taught workshops and classes globally. Her pieces were also recently exhibited at the Illinois Watercolor Society, the International Signature American Water Media Exhibition, and the National Watercolor Society.



steven-fischer.jpgSteven Fischer

Course(s): Creative Writing, Cartoon Storytelling, Acting, Video Editing

Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy nominated filmmaker and Fulbright recipient. He is sought throughout Asia, North America, and Europe to speak on creativity. His film credits include the acclaimed animated documentary "Freedom Dance" with Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mariska Hargitay and "Old School New School," a personal study on creativity with Emmy-winning actor Brian Cox and Grammy Award winner McCoy Tyner among many other internationally acclaimed artists.

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram


mark gruberMark Gruber 

Course(s): Wine Appreciation, Modern Cocktail

A graduate of Northwestern, Mark Gruber has been teaching with Mini Courses for over thirty years. Mark is a local celebrity in the wine and spirits industry, and his students have returned time and again. 





anne howardAnne Howard

Course(s): Knitting

Anne Howard is a Northwestern alumna and is currently pursuing her master’s at Boston University. She has been teaching knitting with Mini Courses since 2003. Lately, she has been knitting a lot of socks and pretends food!




Katie JefferisKatie Jefferis

Course(s): Screenwriting

Katie Jefferis is a screenwriter and director who spent the last fifteen years in New York City. She has written five feature film scripts, a miniseries, a sitcom, and multiple web series. Two of her projects have been in consideration for Sundance Development labs. She holds a BS from Northwestern and an MFA in Filmmaking from Brooklyn College.

Website  |  LinkedIn  |  Instagram  |  Vimeo  |  Facebook

adam lazarAdam Lazar

Course(s): Sewing

Adam Lazar has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and is a sewing instructor, graphic designer, painter, and weaver. His work was recently featured in Handwoven Magazine’s online blog and his painting was part of an Artists Book House project in collaboration with a writer.


Sam LoweSam Lowe

Course(s): Coffee 101

Sam started his coffee journey in 2008 as a barista in his hometown of Greencastle, Indiana. His work continued through his time at Indiana University Bloomington, helping the coffee program at the Runcible Spoon Restaurant and Cafe. After moving to Chicago in 2014, he partnered with Allegro Coffee, opening 12 cafes before joining Allegro’s small-batch coffee roasting program as a roaster. In his time with Allegro, he led coffee evaluation courses, guest lectured at local coffee conventions, and traveled to coffee farms in Central America. Sam now works as a roaster and green coffee buyer for Evanston’s Backlot Coffee. 

Website  |  Instagram (Blacklot Coffee)  |  Instagram (Personal)

Stephanie Lupu

Course(s): Drawing and the Color Theory, Anime and Manga Drawing

Stephanie Lupu earned her BFA in Performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media from Columbia College. She is a practicing artist who creates videos and online media often featuring quirky and highly original puppets and live characters. She was also a Follett scholar at Columbia College, and a merit scholar and bare walls grant recipient at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

inna-melnikov.jpgInna Melnikov

Course(s): Tai Chi, Qi Gong

Inna Melnikov has a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and is National Board certified by the NCCAOM. She has been teaching with Mini Courses for the past 12 years!

Twitter  |  Website


Tomoyasu NakanoTJ Nakano

Course(s): Wheel Throwing I (Beginner)

Tomoyasu Nakano completed his BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2021. His works focus on expanding his craftsmanship skills with ceramics, screenprint, and mixed media. Nakano enjoys expanding his artistic skills to incorporate other mediums into his art practice and considers the process of art-making as a path connecting with larger communities in the vast world of art. 

Tomoyasu Nakano was awarded the Bank of America Scholarship and the SAIC Presidential Scholarship to complete his BFA

Craig Neeson

Course(s): Dark Room Photography

Craig Neeson's work is fixated on seeing clearly and clearly being seen. Working across video, photography, text, and performance, his compositions build on a fascination with the stealthy camouflage of phasmids, the primal search for light in complete darkness, and a profound fear that we've all lost our eye for evil

Craig holds a BFA in Photography from Northern Michigan University and an MFA in Art Theory & Practice from Northwestern University. His work has appeared and been performed internationally in both legitimate and illegitimate galleries, publications that no longer exist or failed to properly manifest, and in the labyrinthian forests of Michigan where he was born.


Larry Schwartz

Course(s): Pocket Billiards for Beginners

Larry Schwartz is a 27-year Billiards Digest monthly columnist and an author of 8-Ball Handbook for Winners. He has also been selected as top 150 players for the International Pool Tour, is 7-year live-action pool commentator, had a cameo appearance in the movie The Color of Money, and was the 1st place North American 8-Ball Championship for 3 consecutive years along with many other Championship titles.

Sylvia TanSylvia Tan

Course(s): Wheel Throwing (Workshops)

A native Singaporean, Sylvia was a ceramic apprentice at Jono Pandolfio studio in New Jersey, and a ceramic instructor in Singapore. Her artwork includes sculptural and functional wheel-thrown pieces, all largely inspired by nature and animals. She is also the graduate assistant for arts and programming at Norris University Center. She holds a BS in mechanical engineering with a minor in Art and is currently a PhD student at Northwestern's mechanical engineering department.

Mckenna TroyMcKenna Troy

Course(s): Tea Tasting and History

Originally from a small farm town in Western Massachusetts, McKenna Troy fell in love with plants and agriculture from a young age. As she grew to love tea, the intersection between the two grew from adoration to expertise. Now, McKenna operates as the CEO/founder of the new startup Bare Mountain Tea - an online retailer of new, inventive teas that improve the environment. McKenna also works as a professional opera singer, and has tasted teas around the world in her travels. 

Instagram  |  Website (Bare Tea Mountain)  |  Website (Personal)

rachel wardRachel "Ranch" Ward 

Course(s): Wheel Throwing II (Intermediate), Introduction to Sculpture

 Rachel “Ranch” Ward is a Chicago-based Ceramic artist and a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their large-bodied work encompasses important memories as a way to physically work through trauma in a healthy and respectful way. Ward hopes to inspire others to use physical forms of art, such as ceramics, to work through difficult and uncovered issues. The process of making their work allows for navigation in the world of gender and identity while inspiring others to appreciate queer bodies as beautiful. Teaching at Gnarware Workshop and Lillstreet Art Studios, Ward prides themselves on their open and conceptual teaching style. With a successful small business selling their personal work and recently receiving the position of Studio Technician at Northwestern University, Rachel “Ranch” Ward is a practicing artist ready to share their experience and learn with you. 

peter wujcik.jpgPeter Wujcik

Course(s): American Sign Language

Peter Wujcik is a Licensed Deaf Interpreter, American Sign Language Instructor, and Theatrical ASL Director, born to Deaf parents. His ASL teaching credits include: Currently ASL Instructor, Teacher Assistance and Tutor at Columbia College Chicago since 2014, (8) years at Bell Elementary School, (5) years at the Art Institute of Chicago, and (14) years at City Colleges of Chicago (Wright College, Harold Washington and Olive-Harvey). He acted as Emcee for the 100 years celebration of the Chicago Chapter of the Illinois Association for the Deaf in 2008. His past theater experience includes ASL Consultant (for both actors and interpreters) for Bell School`s production of GUYS AND DOLLS JR and for Steppenwolf Theater`s THE WHEEL, TRIBES, THE WAY WEST, THE QUALMS, NIGHT ALIVE, THE HERD, GRAND CONCOURSE, and  CONSTELLATIONS. Also Sign Language interpreting for DePaul Reskin Theater`s PROSPERO`S STORM, THE KID WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT, CINDERELLA: THE REMIX and  JUNIE B JONES IS NOT A CROOK and Eclipse Theater Company`s THE LITTLE FLOWER OF EAST ORANGE.