LEAP Students Exhibit Art through New York Museum

  • Leap students holding artwork

    Student artists from LEAP High School will display their paintings -- and their immigration stories -- in an exhibit at the SPPS Center for Equity and Culture.

    The opening event takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22. In addition to the physical exhibition in Saint Paul, 26 of the students and their artworks are also represented in the online gallery of New York City’s Tenement Museum.

    The art is accompanied by stories from the students. Salman, who came to the U.S. from Somalia six months ago, says of his painting:

    When I got my visa to come to the United States I had only three days to get ready. In my mind I have brought with me the farm, the animals, the river and the mountains. It’s peaceful and quiet. I had a lot of friends there. I used to play soccer and do horse racing. This is the peaceful and relaxing scenery I drew in my picture.

    LEAP High School serves some 250 students like Salman: newcomers to the United States who are learning English while earning a high school diploma. The students represented in the exhibition have arrived recently from countries in southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

    LEAP made the connection with the Tenement Museum through two educators from Mia, also known as the Minneapolis Institute of Art: Sheila McGuire, Head of Student and Teacher Learning, and Amanda Lesnikowski, Student and Teacher Learning Coordinator. Both had worked with LEAP students and faculty before. “When the Tenement Museum reached out to Mia about the Your Story, Our Story project, we saw an immediate link with LEAP,” says McGuire.


    Portraits of Leap High School Students
    Photography by Richard Michell
    Click on a portrait below to view art -- accompanied by stories -- from students at LEAP High School.