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. Ms Haj teaches Passport 2 Preschool and Open Studio

Lindsay Denniberg – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Lindsay Denniberg After School Workshop Art TeacherLindsay grew up in the wilderness of southern Florida, majoring in studio art at Florida State University, and receiving a BFA in Film Production at the University of Central Florida. She then received her MFA in Film and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she made her first feature that has won many awards and played festivals all over the world. She is currently finishing her second feature film, and believes it’s never too early to start making movies! Ms Lindsay teaches in our After School Workshop, Open Studio and Magical Beginnings.

Elyse Howanski – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Elyse HowanskiElyse is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art, with Psychology and Art History minors from McDaniel College. Her specialty is in black and white charcoal drawing, but she also experiments with other various media. When she isn’t at Magical Minds Studio, Elyse also works at a Chicago art gallery. She loves to be around art and helping others expand their skills and imagination through art. Ms Elyse teaches in our After School Workshop.

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 widening access to our art environment.

Alex Waskelo – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Ales Waskelo After School Workshop Art TeacherAlex has been into comic books all his life. Raised in the west suburbs, he earned a BFA in Sequential Art (comics) from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Georgia. Now a graduate student at DePaul in Chicago, his focus is on broader Digital Media & Communication, including music, games, and animation. He is excited to pass these skills onto the next generation of creatives. Check out some examples here. Mr Alex teaches in our After School Workshop.

Annie Zwick – After School Workshop Art Teacher

Annie Zwick After School Workshop Art TeacherAnnie is a born and raised Chicagoan with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Primarily, Annie works with weaving and poetry, but dabbles in the worlds of painting and sculpture as well. She values any and all contributions to art, and loves learning from children. When she’s not making art she can be found cooking. Ms Annie teaches in our After School Workshop.

Magical Minds Site

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