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Art Department Staff

  • Alexa Frangos is a photographer and collage artist whose work consists of images that explore domestic life, self-portraiture and early cinema.

    A Wilmette native, Alexa received her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her B.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. One of her passions is teaching drawing, painting and collage to children, media she believes are vital learning and therapeutic tools. Alexa is also a member of Perspective Group and Photography Gallery in Evanston.

  • Laurie Panucci has a M.A. in elementary education from DePaul University, but has found passion and gratification working with adults. In her ceramics classes students have created bowls, vases, plates and a variety of decorative and distinctive pieces.

  • Katy Russell learned to knit and crochet as an elementary school student and has become a well-known expert in yarns and technical skills.

  • Judee Sims has shared her expertise and creativity with many students in a variety of classes over the years. Her background in fine arts allows her to give students proper instruction, structure and foundation, while her personality allows young artists the freedom to be creative, insightful and to have fun.

  • Jessica Van Swol has an MFA from the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME. With nearly two decades of experience working in ceramic arts, she focuses on intellectual curiosity and the open sharing of information.

    As an educator, she is dedicated to guiding her students to bridge imagination, exploration, and knowledge. Jessica is excited to be joining the Wilmette team!

  • Vivian Zapata creates multimedia artworks through creative expression and experimentation. Her exuberant and fantastic artworks investigate the ruptured relationship between Western culture and the natural realm and seem to be culled from a dystopian future that reflects this inharmonious relationship. The work incorporates narrative strategies to support nature-endorsing philosophies such as deep ecology and romanticism.

    A Chicago native, Vivian holds an MFA in visual art from Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA in painting and sculpture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Vivian has more than five years of teaching experience for leading educational institutions, and is looking forward to working with the talented students at the Wilmette Park District!