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"Your Story, Our Story" At Home Art

Students from LEAP High School in St. Paul created works of art inspired by their personal experiences of immigration and migration as part of the Your Story, Our Story project. As part of our American Voices Young People's Concert Experience, we'd like to invite you to explore their online gallery, then join local artist Lucy Michell to make your very own Your Story, Our Story art at home!


Objective: To share your unique American voice by creating an artwork of a place that makes you feel most at home. 


  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser 
  • Colored pencil, watercolor paints or colored markers


  1. Choose your place: Pick a space that makes you feel the most comfortable 
  2. Make a word list: Make a word list of the things that are in your inside or outside space. Write at least 10 things/details that would help people know what this place looks like if they had never seen it before. For example:  

Inside: window, light, rug, table, chairs, pictures, a pet, your shoes, a pizza box, a plant, an apple core.

Outside: a tree, a bench, a hill, a river, a lake, rocks, flowers, a path, bikes, boats, buildings, fences, power lines, a kite, a street sign 

  1. Choose your angle: Decide the angle from which you will draw the space or place. Will it be eye level, bird's-eye view, close up, or from far away? If you can be in this place, draw what you see. If you can’t be there, take a picture of the place and look closely at it while you draw. If you can’t do either, use your terrific memory and the 10-word list as a guide. 

*Remember this drawing is for you, there are no expectations besides the ones you give yourself. The best thing to do is to draw without second-guessing your choices. There are no wrongs here, just an exercise in describing something you love using the pencil and whatever colors you choose.

  1. Pencil Line drawing: Begin with pencil only, and follow the outside edges of the objects or things in your location. View video for examples of line drawing work.
  2. Color your drawing: Make sure you choose colors that highlight the space you chose. Look closely at all the objects and things within your space, and include patterns on fabrics and detailed areas of your space to bring out with color.
  3. Write an artist statement: Write an artist statement about your completed drawing. What else would you like someone to know about your special place? Describe things in your drawing and how they help make the place your favorite. Refer to your word list and see if you drew all 10 things in your artwork. If you missed any, write about them!
  4. Take a self portrait: Take a self-portrait or selfie, like the students from LEAP, in your favorite t-shirt, pajamas, coat, sports clothing, etc. Don’t forget a favorite hat or objector a pet could be part of the portrait as well. Take a photo of yourself with or without your artwork, or have someone help you.
  5. Photograph your artwork 
  6. Document your artist statement: You can either take a picture of what you wrote down, type it up, or make a video or voice recording.
  7. Share your work!

Share your at home art with us!

Send a photo of your artwork to education@mnorch.org.

About Lucy:

Lucy Michelle is a local artist and musician living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the past 12 years she has been a freelance illustrator and touring musician, solo and with her band Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, who are now called Little Fevers. Currently she is studying to become an art educator. To view her work you can go to cargocollective.com/lucymichellillustration or check out her recently-published book Jack and the Ghost, written by Chan Poling. 

About Your Story, Our Story:

As part of the January 2019 American Expressions festival, Orchestra Hall hosted an exhibition featuring original artworks by Saint Paul Public Schools LEAP High School students, created as part of the Your Story, Our Story partnership program with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and the Tenement Museum. Guided by teachers Jill Michelle and Anne Lowe, the students shared their own stories of immigration through art-making and writing.