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 young 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.
Sara Jones, our Lead Teacher, is an Illinois State Certified CPS instructor with a Type 10 endorsement in the Arts/Special Education. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Art Education from The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago. In addition to being a local artist, Sara has taught, managed and developed curriculum for different CPS/Chicago Charter schools, educational programs as well as spearheading after-school art programs in locations around the Chicago area. She also regularly substitute teaches English, Math and Science classes along with tutoring/mentoring students in a variety of subjects both during and after school hours. While she teaches children during the day, Sara is the Chief Event Coordinator and Art Instructor for a national art company that holds evening painting classes at different locations around the Chicago Metropolitan area. Sara joins The Paintbrush in May 2014.
Kate Ziebart couldn’t be more excited to join the Paintbrush team! She is currently studying Urban Sociology and Art History at DePaul University but spends most of her time finding ways to CREATE. Whether it’s painting, drawing, or jamming with her band A Penny Shy, Kate loves to inspire people to use their creativity every day! A lover of Broadway music, lots of cinnamon, and dancing the night away, Kate brings a smile to every class she teaches. Kate joins The Paintbrush team for classes, birthday pARTies, ART Camps and special events in winter 2015.
Alex Nates-Perez is a junior at DePaul University pursuing a degree in Creative Writing with a minor in Environmental Sciences. She has been involved in art her whole life, whether it be AP art in high school, singing with her high school A Cappella group, Saturday classes at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she grew up, or getting creative with her mom. Now that she’s busy with college she likes to relax with her friend and co-teacher at The Paintbrush, Kate, on weekends painting and crafting. Alex enjoys riding her bike when it’s warm and practicing yoga whenever she can. You can usually find her reading a book, buried under her knitting and the pile of fur belonging to her roommate’s cat, Cooper. Alex joins The Paintrush teaching and pARTy teams in winter 2015. Additionally, look for her creative writing and illustration classes.
Andrew Garcia joined The Paintbrush team in May 2014 to run pARTies.
Milan Antinelli is a student at Lincoln Park High School. She began working with The Paintbrush as a volunteer and now works our birthday pARTies.