leaf blog
Empowering Youth through Cultural Arts!
LEAF Schools & Streets is a local arts education program matching artists with youth in schools and communities for hands-on workshops, residencies, interactive performances and mentoring that includes opportunities for youth to perform with the artists at LEAF – and beyond!

You help make an impact in young people's lives!
Over 41,000 youth served since 2004!

Teaching Artists are from the local, regional and international community. The program is designed to reach children and adults of different socio-economic backgrounds in the Asheville area and Western NC. LSS was inspired by LEAF executive director’s godchildren who were living in public housing. She saw a huge lack in access to the arts for children living in the Klondyke Apartments in the Montford neighborhood of Asheville.

Like the LEAF Festival, LSS proves that music and the arts can bridge cultures and create life-altering, community-building experiences. Our LSS programs provide an opportunity for youth participants to attend and perform at LEAF alongside their Teaching Artists. Participating youth gain self-esteem and cultural awareness while experiencing multiple interactions with performing artists, being a performer on stage, and a festival adventure.

“Through LEAF Schools & Streets, the students whose voices and talents may not be as noticable in the classroom have been given the opportunity to be heard and to shine!"
– Rainbow Community School Teacher, May 2014
“Since participating in LEAF Schools & Streets, I have noticed an increase in organization and improved grades in my child."
- Erwin Middle School Parent, May 2014

LEAF Schools & Streets is proud to be a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Founded in 1937, the National Guild for Community Arts Education supports and advances access to lifelong learning opportunities in the arts.

National Guild New Logo eps


   children, families, and communities through cooperation and performances.


   children, communities, and community partners on the power of the arts.

    the lives of all children and provide cultural arts to underserved communities.

    by actively engaging in the arts, children are transformed, and develop confidence and self-efficacy.

Over 45,000 youth have participated in residencies, workshops or performances to date.
232 programs in schools
(15 Title 1 schools)
380 different arts education programs
37 after-school programs
/ community centers
• Over
5,400 youth performers at LEAF

Year-round LEAF Schools & Streets programming for Winter/Spring 2014:

12 Resident Teaching Artists
18 LSS weekly programs
3 low-income housing communities
4 community centers
7 afterschool programs

Inspiring CREATIVITY since 2004

Resident Teaching Artist Update
Otto Vazquez | Hip Hop Dance


“I learned how to keep calm and enjoy dancing!" and "I learned dance moves and got over stage fright - it was fun!!" exclaimed students in Otto Vazquez's dance class at Enka Middle School. Youth in the YMCA 21st Century program at Enka learned new dance skills such as break-dancing, basic acrobatics, hip-hop dance, and line dances. The group's biggest performances were at LEAF Festival, Enka Family night (where all of the kids got awards), and the fun & funny "Pizza Dance Party" on the last day of class where they played, danced, and laughed a LOT! "My lessons & drills worked out extremely well as I helped them conquer stage fright, gave them empowerment, and pushed them past their fears - all the while - having lots of fun!

LSS Kids Speak Up:


"Maybe, just maybe,
we can change the world."

-Leah, an Erwin Middle School student
referring to her experience at LEAF 

"I like to dance, because it makes me happy."

-Jaenna, age 6
Deaverview Learning Center
with teaching artist Lisa Zahiya

“LEAF Schools & Streets taught me that there is music everywhere.”

-Logan, Asheville High School student
about working with youth from LEAF International Bequia

sponsor button-harmony