Chances are if you’ve stepped foot into any of Kansas City’s most popular destinations you’ve experienced the magic of art consultant Paul Dorrell. He has curated art collections for KU Med, Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Royals, St. Luke’s Health System, Overland Park Convention Center, K-State and many more. His global reach extends to places like Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Tokyo. His resume boasts accomplishments such as the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Texas A&M, and Disney World.
But if all of those places have escaped your attention, then maybe it was simply a mural, perfectly placed on the side of a barn that you passed by in Johnson County that took your breath away. If working with big names like Marvel Studios and Warner Brothers or renting out a selection of artwork to AppleTV for the newest Ben Stiller flick hasn’t gained him notoriety then his philanthropy surely has. Not to mention that he is also the owner of the prestigious Leopold Gallery + Art Consulting in Brookside. Not too bad for a local boy from the Midwest!
Paul grew up in old Leawood, and he credits much of his success to an “excellent education in Johnson County and a privileged and wonderful upbringing.” After college he spent years living the life of an adventurer—from working on a fishing boat in Alaska to a horse ranch in California—traveling the world while always staying involved in the arts in some form.
Paul achieved tenure at Connecticut’s prestigious Hill-Stead Museum, and by all accounts he could have stopped there and been considered a success. After meeting his wife Annie back home in Kansas, he decided to put down some roots, and he set to work developing the cultural growth of the Kansas City Community. He intentionally chooses local Kansas and Missouri artists to feature in his gallery and to work with, highlighting not only the area's talent, but the diversity of the Midwest. Again crediting his education, he says, “What I am achieving now directly correlates to where I came from.”
Not only is he grateful for his fortunate upbringing, he is paying it forward. The Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation has raised more than $250,000 for local academies that were otherwise underfunded. These funds have also contributed to giving many students the opportunity to go to college through grants and scholarships. Paul’s goal was simple—to mentor inner city kids and to introduce them to college—kids who might not otherwise have had the exposure.
“It is important to remove the intimidation factor for them,” he says. Supporting the community and giving back has been a priority for him throughout the years. He believes if you want to see change, you have to do something about it.
And if you thought for a moment that his wanderlust was gone, think again. Reveling in the old adage of “work hard, play hard,” Paul says at least half of the year finds him traveling both for work and for leisure. “To have a change in setting does wonders for my sensibilities,” he says. “A different tempo or pace is essential to my creative process.”
He counts routine as the killer of creativity. And what could be further from routine? Well, he has just been informed that he has made the first round for the TV show Survivor. So when he’s not talking about art, riding a motorcycle or spending his time rescuing German shepherds, you might just find him hanging 10 on a surfboard somewhere, or who knows, maybe even popping up on your television on Wednesday nights.
Leopold Gallery + Art Consulting is located at 324 W. 63rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64113 ● 816-333-3111 ● leopoldgallery.com