The Mainstreet Staff

  Frankie Johnson, Director
Frankie Johnson is an accomplished artist with over 40 years of experience in painting with oils, pastels and watercolor.  Frankie has taught drawing, oil and pastel painting at The Studio In The Woods (Wauconda, Illinois), The Studio of Long Grove and the Mainstreet Art Centre.  In 1994 she opened the Mainstreet Art Centre and has assembled a talented staff of instructors over the years.  She conducts workshops in portrait and landscape painting at various locations such as The Clearing in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, Dillmans in Lac Du Flambeau, Wisconsin and the Mainstreet Art Centre.

She studied art and design at the Art Institute of Chicago and William Harper College.  Through her long association with the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago, she has studied with distinguished artists such as Richard Schmid, David Leffel, Ted Goerschner, Ted Smuskiewicz, Clyde Aspevig and Scott Burdick.

Frankie has participated in many juried exhibitions and plein air painting competitions and won numerous awards for her paintings through the years.  Her work has appeared in shows and galleries all over the United States.  She is currently represented by the Fine Line Designs Gallery in Ephraim, Wisconsin. and Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Frankie's paintings, including numerous portrait commissions, hang in corporate and private collections throughout the country.

Visit her website to learn more and see her artwork:



The Teachers

in alphabetical order:

  Barb Benstein

Barb Bensteinís love of art started at an early age. Mostly self-taught, she specializes in detailed pastel paintings of people and pets, as well as homes and landscapes. After working as a graphic artist for 10 years, Barb began painting full-time in 1993. Painting with pastels has always been her favorite medium. She loves the vibrancy of the colors and the richness of the texture when applied to sand paper. Barb has won many awards. Her commissioned paintings hang in Germany, Japan and Canada as well as throughout the United States.


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  Cheryl Cook

"Cookie" can't remember when she was not drawing or painting. Directly out of college she began her career working for Hallmark in Kansas City designing, illustrating and sculpting. After moving to Chicago she worked for ad agencies and packaging companies as well as drawing courtroom sketches for the Chicago Tribune and now CBS. Cookie loves working with fellow artists to share the lessons learned by a lifetime of study. Continually inspired by other artists makes teaching exciting and an on going learning experience for both student and teacher.


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  Peggy Graves
Peggy is an accomplished muralist and fine artist with over 25 years of painting experience.  She has studied with Frankie johnson and Romel de la Torre and has taken numerous workshops over the years at Mainstreet Art Center. She has murals and paintings gracing the walls of hundreds of private residences and commercial facilities throughout the Chicago suburbs.

  Lynell Ingram

Lynell Ingram is a painter and mixed-media artist from Arlington Heights, IL, who graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.  Ingram spent 15 years working in graphic arts and illustration before making the full transition to painting and fine arts, bringing a touch of illustration sensibility to her work. She is listed in the All She Makes womenís artist directory, published in Kilter Magazine and the Daily Herald, and has exhibited work in multiple Chicagoland galleries and pop-up shows.

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  Jan Oswald
Jan Oswald majored in art and early childcare education.  She taught art and music at the YMCA in Highland Park and has been teaching pre-school for over 25 years.  Pursuing her love of oil painting has become a major focus in recent years.  She works regularly in her own home studio, where many paintings are waiting their final touch. Jan has been teaching drawing and painting to children at Mainstreet Art Center for several years.

  Susan Ploughe
Susan Ploughe is an award-winning painter and enthusiastic instructor who loves helping people to develop their skills. Her work has been juried into many national exhibitions, and she has earned Signature Status in both the American Impressionist Society and Oil Painters of America. Susan's paintings and commissioned portraits are in private and corporate collections and her artwork has been featured in national art magazines. 

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