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Daily Inspiration: Meet Paul Dorrell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Dorrell, Art Consultant and President of Leopold Gallery in Brookside.

Hi Paul, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After graduating from KU in 1982, I worked on a fishing boat in AK, a horse ranch in CA, wandered all over Europe, then took work as Assistant Director of the Hill-Stead Museum of French Impressionism in Hartford, CT. Those were great experiences but eventually I began to miss KC, so moved home to open a gallery that represented regional artists on a national level. I opened Leopold in 1991 in the old Hotel Savoy—which in those days was a gritty part of town and that’s what I loved about it, along with all the ghosts in the hotel. The decades have since been good to us. As an art consultant, my clients include Marvel Studios, H&R Block, the Chiefs, the City of Boston, the Dallas Arboretum, the Royals, KU Med, Saint Luke’s, and 1000s of private collectors worldwide. Now I frequently design art programs for corporations, hospitals and stadiums. In 2006, I founded the Leopold Gallery Educational Foundation to provide opportunities for teenage artists from the inner city. That has gone well and we’ve helped over 800 deserving kids get into college. Cool as all this is, I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my beautiful wife, Annie. She’s passionate, loving and open-minded, and has helped inspire much of what I do.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The first ten years were definitely challenging. Yes, we landed some big art projects like the National D-Day Memorial and the Mayo Clinic, but cash flow was often a problem–as it is most for most small businesses in the beginning. But we hung in there and eventually developed a loyal following across the country, in Europe, and even Australia. Thirty years later we’re still growing, trying to keep up with all the projects we land and all the private collectors who come to us seeking inspiration. And, for what it’s worth, during our difficult years, we never lost sight of the fact that we were very lucky to be active in this profession, in this country, since if we’d been in a Third World Country, we wouldn’t have stood a chance. So I guess you could say gratitude and philanthropy have had a lot to do with our vision. Also it’s good to stay distracted: skydiving, rock-climbing, marathon hikes in the grand canyon, and a good glass of Sonoma Syrah in the evenings. Make that two glasses.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m actually not an artist but an art consultant and gallery owner. So just as a film director must understand great writing, acting and cinematography, I must understand what my artists do, regardless of medium, then help bring the best out of them. On major projects, like Jacob Burmood’s huge sculpture in front of the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Dallas, I often help flesh out the design. The same is true of the huge glass sculptures we installed at KU Med and all the big installations at Arrowhead Stadium. Most artists love constructive feedback, and I’m happy to provide that where it’s helpful.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
People frequently contact us through our website, but if you live locally it’s more fun just to walk in. We love it when people browse the gallery.

Pricing:

  • We have artwork priced from $90–$30,000. A simple visit tells everyone what works for them and what does not

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Paul in Gallery, by Brynn Burns. All art photos by Leopold Gallery.

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