In 1991, Paul Dorrell founded Leopold Gallery to showcase the work of regional artists. After a successful 15 years in the business, Paul felt it was time to start helping others. In 2006, Paul paid a visit to Paseo Academy, a local charter school, and was devastated by what he saw in the art classrooms.
“These were intelligent kids making good grades, passionate about exploring art, but they just didn’t have the proper supplies or equipment to do so,” said Paul.
Paul’s desire to help local art programs led to the development of the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation, a donor-advised fund established at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation in 2010.
Since then, the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation has granted thousands of dollars to Paseo Academy and Sumner Academy to improve their art programs.
“With the support of the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation, we’ve been able to purchase supplies we never even dreamed of because they were so out of our reach,” said Pamela Sahl, Art Department Chair at Paseo Academy. “We’ve been able to buy nicer materials and equipment like a press for printmaking, high-quality paper, and nice markers, just to name a few.”
Pamela explained how, with the extra monetary support, she was able to incorporate ceramics into more of her curriculum.
“A single pint of glaze costs nearly $60. Teaching students ceramics while trying to convey the importance of not wasting a single drop of glaze is incredibly difficult. Now, we can worry about that a little less and teach this medium to even more students,” said Pamela.
While funding art supplies and equipment is imperative, Paul is a firm believer in providing more than just financial support. He has developed a robust mentorship program for local art students and cultivates relationships with faculty and staff at each school.
“Each fall Paul takes my advanced art classes on a field trip,” shared Elizabeth Burns, an art teacher at Sumner Academy. “The Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation funds everything from transportation to the sack lunches. We visit art studios around the metro and, most importantly, we visit colleges and universities. Paul is a big believer in showing our students firsthand what their life can look like after high school. This allows students to get an up-close-and-personal look at the amazing postsecondary education institutions right in their own backyards. Without these field trips, many students would never be exposed to postsecondary education opportunities.”
Since 2006, the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation has assisted more than 500 high school students in enrolling in college and has organized field trips for more than 1,200 students.
“At the end of the day, we just want to support these kids and help them get into college,” said Paul. “We want to provide adequate art supplies so that these students can gain experience and hone their skills, bettering their chances to get into a visual arts program after high school or encouraging them to pursue art as a hobby alongside a more traditional postsecondary education.”
The Community Foundation is proud to walk alongside Paul and the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation as it supports students in the metro. Learn more about how you can easily give back to the causes you care about and contact us with any questions.
Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist