St. Olaf students receive Ordway fellowships to center and uplift BIPOC artists
The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts named St. Olaf College students Yolanda Pauly ’25 and Paulina Morera Quesada ’24 to its GreenRoom training fellowship created by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists to center and uplift underrepresented communities within musical theater.
The six-week program, now in its second year, will operate out of the Ordway’s spaces in downtown St. Paul. The 11 selected fellows will participate in an intensive, six-week program from July 6–August 22 and will receive a $2,500 stipend. The fellowship will conclude with a performance at the Ordway on August 22 at 3 p.m.
GreenRoom’s faculty is made up of talented local artists who develop the program curriculum, which will cover acting, vocal technique, movement, and auditioning, as well as special master classes on business development, public speaking, and wellness. Guest speakers and teaching artists will also participate.
“I am looking forward to seeing how the instructors approach various elements of the performing arts and how I can uplift my POC students,” says Pauly, who plans to pursue a career in the arts — with a focus on dancing and teaching — after graduating.
At St. Olaf Pauly is majoring in dance with a race and ethnic studies concentration. She is a member of Companydance and this year will be the co-chair of the Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE). “This fellowship will allow me to continue developing my experience in the performing arts and create connections I can reach out to as I continue my education and career,” she says.
Morera Quesada (they/she) is majoring in Inclusivity in the Performing Arts, an individual major they developed through the St. Olaf Center for Integrative Studies, with concentrations in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. She is also a member of Companydance and co-chaired the POC Ole Theater ensemble for two years. They say they are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and connect with artists of color through this fellowship.
“My younger self would be so proud of me and so grateful to have this dreamlike opportunity,” Morera Quesada says. “I know I am destined to work on a stage, be that as a dancer or as an actor. I believe this fellowship will give me an insight of how the professional performing arts world works and it will provide me with the tools to maintain a sustainable career.”