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LEAP Teacher Jill Michell Honored with Ordway’s Education Service Award

LEAP art teacher Jill Michell was one of four educators statewide to receive an Ordway Excellence in Education award. 


The awards are given annually to arts educators who have made an outstanding contribution in the arts that connects students and the Ordway in the areas of Philanthropy, Vision, Community Commitment or Education Service.

Michell received the Excellence in Education Service award for her leadership and participation that led to inventive learning for students in or through the Ordway’s programs.

“As a teacher and artist, Michell has taken a cultural approach to teaching and is an advocate for student expression and recognition,” a news release from the Ordway reads. “Her most significant asset is her ability to take students at LEAP high school from diverse cultural backgrounds and differing educational backgrounds to create together beautiful works of art and self-expression.”

Michell works to ensure that LEAP students art are shared not only with the school community, but with the people of Saint Paul, through the annual the ARTwalk exhibition presented by the Ordway and other large scale city and regional events.

A few of the notable art programs that have featured LEAP students’ artwork in recent years:

  • 2014-2015 Flint Hills International Children's Festival: The Ordway exhibited 30 artworks created by LEAP students during their anniversary celebration of the Flint Hills International Children's Festival.

  • 2012-2013 Totem Pole Project: This cross-disciplinary project originated as a way to connect the experiences of indigenous people from around the world to the experiences of the indigenous people of the United States.  The goal was to foster understanding among cultures by sharing with LEAP students the art, history, stories and sense of place of the Native Americans.

  • The 2011 Ordway Center's Spring Artwalk: LEAP students’ paintings and sculptures inspired by Pablo Picasso's portraits of women were on display in the first floor windows of the Travelers Insurance building.

 Here is a short video that introduces the relationship between LEAP and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Leap students at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts from Rich Michell on Vimeo.