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Instructors

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.

Website

jonah-brooks.jpgJonah Brooks

Courses(s): Beginning and Intermediate Guitar

Jonah Brooks has a bachelor’s in music business management from Columbia College Chicago. He was the Semifinalist in Sharon Lynne Wilson Center Guitar Competition.

 

 

paula-evans-imx.jpgPaula Evans

Course(s): Baking basics

Paula Evans was born and raised in Chicago, studying Accounting and Management Information Systems at Roosevelt University. Inspired by her high school Home Ec teacher and by watching her mom, Paula became passionate about baking at a young age. In 2007, leaving a 20+ year corporate career behind, she made a long-term dream come true by starting her baking and catering business. Over the next eight years, Paula provided desserts and breakfast pastries to retail, corporate and wholesale clients in Evanston and Chicago. Paula then transitioned to teaching and inspiring adults and children to bake from scratch, with an emphasis on creating baked goods that look as good as they taste. Paula describes her teaching style as patient, motivating, creative and caring. From the first "hello", Paula focuses on creating a safe and friendly class environment that inspires students to do their best, while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and try new techniques.

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.

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mark gruberMark Gruber 

Course(s): Wine Appreciation, Mixology

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): Basic 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!

 

 

 

adam lazarAdam Lazar

Course(s): Basic 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.

 

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

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!

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Gopal Menon

Course(s): The Basics of Chess

Tomoyasu NakanoTJ Nakano

Course(s): Introduction to Wheel Throwing, Handbuilding at Home

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

 

Gabriela Ortiz 

Course(s): Hip Hop

Gabriela Ortiz graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a double major in Dance and Performing Arts Management. She has performed at Carnival Chicago, been in music videos for artists like Simone Bisous and Mayo, opened for Beyonce’s dancers at the Shrine, choreographed and danced in a national ad campaign for formidable entities, danced with several Chicago companies, including Desuaño Vision, and currently enjoys choreographing for Chicago-based shows and dance companies. She has performed works by Pam McNeil, Trae Turner, Sofia Perez, Kris Bellive, Denita Inez, Ginger Jensen, and international choreographer Xu Chung. She greatly enjoys sharing her love of dance while instilling self-confidence in all her dance classes.

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 a 1st place North American 8-Ball Championship for 3 consecutive years along with many other Championship titles.

robert-stokowy.jpgRobert Stokowy

Course(s): Podcasting for Beginners - DIY production at home

Robert is a sound engineer, radio host & producer, and artist from Cologne, Germany, who now lives in Chicago. He worked work in Germany’s biggest national broadcasting stations, produces podcast series for local NGOs, and hosts a weekly radio show for WQRT in Indianapolis. As an artist, he focuses on Sound Art and produced several albums, international exhibitions, and installations, performed concerts, published books, and composed experimental sound. Since April of 2019, his city-wide public art installation structures [Albuquerque] is being exhibited in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Website

rachel wardRachel "Ranch" Ward 

Course(s): Intermediate/ Advanced Wheel Throwing, and Whimsical Handbuilding

 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 I

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.