Meet Your Muses

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Meet Your Muses

Melanie Ann Apel is the Owner and Director of The Paintbrush. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts from Bradley University, and earned a subsequent bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Care from National-Louis University. A native of Lincoln Park, she worked as a pediatric respiratory therapist at Children’s Memorial Hospital for six years. Melanie has also been a freelance writer of predominantly children’s books (plus the popular pictorial histories Lincoln Park: Chicago and Lincoln Park Revisited)  and Cystic Fibrosis: The Ultimate Teen Guide, since the mid-1990s. Her newest book What Are You Hiding, Tory? is available as an ebook. Melanie is a single mom to two talented, creative boys. She is very active in her sons’ school’s PTA as a VP and chair of several committees, she is the  band association’s recording secretary, an an all-around a volunteer, and a busy mom. Melanie brings her love of watching children explore their world, along with her organizational skills and her amazing ability to multitask, to The Paintbrush.


Caroline Watson  is a student, an actor and an all-around creative addition to The Paintbrush. She teaches our Saturday classes and runs birthday pARTies. She joined our team in fall 2016.

Sydney Suter, an actor, a dancer and dance teacher, also has a passion for art and working with kids. She joined The Paintbrush in summer 2017 to assist with Summer Camp. She works birthday pARTies and camp days, as well as some off-site classes. In January 2018 she opens her Little Theatre ARTists class and has joined our teaching team,

Carolina Servin has found time in between working and studying for the BAR exam to join The Paintbrush to teach our signature classes and Spanish immersion ART classes, plus camps and birthday pARTies. She joined The Paintbrush in December 2017.

Lauren Florek, a DePaul music student with a strong art background, joins The Paintbrush in January 2018 to teach our signature classes, our drawing and painting classes, adult ART and Wine classes, and birthday pARTies.

Jennifer Diaz, formerly our Lead Teacher,  joined The Paintbrush in August 2016. She runs birthday pARTies.

Hayden Apel has been part of The Paintbrush since he was four years old. Having grown up in his mom’s studio he has been a member of the pARTy Team for several years, assists with camps and off-site events, and was a co-creator of Kids’ Night Out.

Alec Apel has never known life without The Paintbrush. As our most junior staff member, Alec is most helpful at Drop-In ART, birthday pARTies, camps and off-site events. He was a co-creator or Kids’ Night Out and assists with occasional project creation.