Who We Are

Come get to know us!

Haj Herbert – Founder/Art Teacher

Haj Herbert FounderThe birth of Magical Minds Studio began after Haj became a mother herself. With an art education and early childhood background from Northern Illinois University Haj knew the importance of art in a young child’s life. She searched within the community for a place where her son could freely explore all the possibilities art had to offer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a place. So when a friend told her about a storefront for rent she explored the possibilities of opening up a studio. With the support and hard work of her husband Tom, together they built Magical Minds Studio. Haj graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors in Art Education and minor is sculpture. She pursued her education at the Erickson Institute where she continues to take classes and attend workshops. Haj is also an active member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance and often communicates with fellow members around the globe to enhance the experience at Magical Minds Studio.

Gabriel Andres – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Gabriel AndresGabriel is a Miami-born illustrator and educator. His background in the arts includes drafting, drawing, illustrating from life, graphic design, architectural design and teaching in the arts from ages 3-65. He studied at The School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and has been teaching while pursuing his drafting and painting practice. Gabriel has worked previously with the Chicago Public Schools, most recently working with an inner city school to create a bilingual comic book with young students in bilingual and special needs classes.

Claire Mokrauer-Madden – Studio Coordinator

Claire Mokrauer-MaddenClaire lived and worked in the United Kingdom for 10 years, obtaining her Masters in Art History from Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has now returned to her roots in Oak Park. Her passion for art and providing exposure to people of all ages has led her to Magical Minds Studio to assist in not only coordinating Studio function, but growing our business as a foundation for those economically challenged.

Patricia Ostoa – Passport 2 Preschool Teacher

Patricia Ostoa Assistant Preschool TeacherPatricia grew up in Mexico and moved to Chicago as a teenager. Being a proud mother of two, Patricia understands the importance of providing a creative and nurturing environment for young children. Her love for music and teaching is strong and led her to study Early Childhood Education. She is currently finishing up her degree at Harold Washington College in Chicago and is thrilled to be a part of our Studio.

Brian Pearlman – Substitute After School Workshop Art Teacher

Brian PearlmanBrian is a native of Oak Park, currently studying Digital Media at DePaul University. He is a published author, having contributed a short story to the comic Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel. He has more comics in the works to be published in the upcoming year. Brian also hosts Splash Pages for Radio DePaul at DePaul University, interviewing artists, writers, designers and other people working in creative fields about their creative processes.

Laura Williams – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Laura Williams After School Workshop Art TeacherLaura was born in the United Kingdom and grew up near Rockford, IL. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laura loves teaching alongside her ceramics practice and understands the importance of offering her skills to provide art instruction. She aims to provide students with art lessons which combine making and context, as well as discussions that outline art movements and creating. Laura recently moved to the area and looks forward to exploring and getting to know the residents of Oak Park.

Magical Minds Site

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