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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

maria-headshot.jpgMaria Blanco

Course(s): Hip Hop & House: Learning to Social Dance

Maria Blanco is a dancer, choreographer and educator from Bloomfield Hills, MI. She enjoys combining social dance with her modern/contemporary training to push the boundaries of dance and explore how improvisation can be used as a tool for both dancers and non-movers, changing the narrative of where dance is accessible, and whom it is accessible to. Maria received her B.A. in Dance and Sociology from Loyola University Chicago in May of 2018. In collaboration with Yariana Baralt Torres, she co-founded LOUD BODIES Dance, a non-profit dance organization that combines dance and activism in collaboration with local non-profit and mutual aid organizations. Maria has also performed with the American College Dance Association, Loyola University Chicago, The Greenhouse Theatre, Links Hall, The Athenaeum Theatre, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse in collaboration with Synapse Arts, Collaboraction’s Peacebook Festival, and Momenta Dance Company. In 2021, Broadway World nominated her as “Dancer of the Decade” for her role as Graffiti Pete in, “In the Heights”.

Paula EvansPaula 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's 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. He was also recently granted and added to the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

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 Appreciation

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

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

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.

cross stichingRebekah Sigman 

Course(s): Cross Stitching

Rebekah has been cross-stitching for twenty years, completing projects ranging from one-nighters to a cross-stitched landscape that took six years to complete. She loves teaching others about what she considers the most accessible, customizable, and easy-to-learn craft! When not cross-stitching, Rebekah continues to be a lifelong learner – having recently completed the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program at NU and regularly takes both piano and sewing lessons. Rebekah works in the Department of Communication Studies as the Undergraduate Program Administrator, where she has worked for six years. Additionally, Rebekah is the 2022-2023 Association of Northwestern University Women President.

 

tony-smith-headshot.jpgTony Smith 

Course(s): Fundamentals of Audio and Lighting Event Technology

Tony Smith is an audio engineer from Chicago with experience in all kinds of events from Ballet and musicals to corporate retreats. Currently he works at the Norris University Center to put on events there as well as at Cahn Auditorium. Holding a BA from Columbia College Chicago in Live Sound, he hopes to bring his live events to knowledge to student orgs at Northwestern. 

 

 

Sylvia Tan
Sylvia 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 and MS in mechanical engineering with a minor in Art and is currently a PhD student at Northwestern's mechanical engineering department.

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.