Art Instructors


Beth Leahy

Adult Oil, Workshops,
Youth Oil & Drawing

B.A., St. Xavier University with additional classes taken from the Art Institute of Chicago, American Academy of Art, Palette and Chisel, and School of Representational Art. Beth is a member of the Oil Painters of America and has taught oil painting to adults and children since 1997. McCord has been privileged to have her teach since opening in 2004. Beth has exhibited and taken many awards over the years.


John Howard

Multi-Level Watercolor, Oil,

Still & Life Drawing

Mr. Howard received his training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. As a professional artist and Muralist, he has been awarded the CFS medal from the American Watercolor Society’s 136th Annual International Exhibition in New York. He has been teaching various classes for over 21 years and joined McCord in January 2005. His murals and paintings can be found in the corporate, residential and gallery settings.


Carmelo Schifano

A professional educator, Carmelo has been teaching for 40 years. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Vocational Education. His teaching career includes Chicago Public and Community Collages of Chicago and he is currently certified with the State of Illinois in several areas of education, including art and design. Since leaving the school system, Carmelo has been putting his teaching skills to good use in conducting professional watercolor classes. His motto is to have fun and lose your fear.

Beginning Watercolor


Mary Ann Trzyna

Pastel Painting

Ms. Trzyna graduated from University of Illinois, Chicago with a degree in Studio arts. She currently makes a living as a graphic designer and has had her own design business for more than 15 years while also pursuing her work in fine arts. About ten years ago, Mary Ann committed to a more active studio practice, taking classes, learning new mediums and showing her work in juried exhibitions. Five years ago, she moved her studio to Union Street Gallery, a professional artists’ cooperative. She now keeps regular studio hours and enjoys the frequent interaction with other artists that being part of the cooperative allows. Mary Ann tries to continuously challenge herself to be an active productive artist, to find new ways to express herself, to improve her skills and support the arts community.


Tony Crnkovich

Colored Pencils

Mr. Crnkovich is a professional artist/instructor in the Chicagoland area. He is a graduate of The American Academy of Art with an Associate’s Degree in graphic design. Skilled in a variety of subject matter and media, his foremost specialty is portraiture. His work includes published and private commissions, a highlight being “The Sound of Music” collectible plate series for Knowles China.


Mary Ann Nowak

Pastel Painting and Gardening

Ms. Nowak is an artist and instructor based in Tinley Park, IL. She is able to convey the unique life, energy, and personality of her subjects including animals, portraits, and landscapes. Mary Ann prefers to work in pastels for the artistic challenge that they provide as well as the richness of color and depth. As part of her artistic process, she enjoys working from photographs and with each painting tries to convey, "a picture worth a thousand words." Mary Ann has taken classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago School of Art and Design, American Academy of Art, and McCord Gallery and Cultural Center. She has studied under Mary Aslin, Harley Brown, John Howard, Beth Leahy, Liz Wall, Daggi Wallace, and Gary Wick. Mary Ann has been accepted in many juried shows and has CPP status.