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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.

“TC Roberson's LEAF experience was excellent- above and beyond expectations. Being able to work with PEI for 3 days made LEAF far more emersive than any other festival.  The success of any program is dependent on the participants, and all of ours were exceptional! Our coordinator, our fantastic artists, the TCR PTSO, parents and of course, our students. It was a wonderful experience that I will not forget. Thank you LSS, I hope we can do this again in the future."
– Paul Zinke, TC Roberson High School, October 2013
“Since participating in LEAF Schools & Streets, my child is more thoughtful and a better student."
- Carolina Day School Parent, October 2013

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 41,000 youth have participated in residencies, workshops or performances to date.
212 programs in schools
(15 Title 1 schools)
355 different arts education programs
37 after-school programs
/ community centers
• Over
5,100 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
Nina Ruffini | Circus Arts


“I feel super excited to be learning how to do something different. It gives me an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people,” said Adrian, a 6th grader from Asheville Middle. Students in Nina Ruffini’s Circus Arts class are learning new skills such as acrobatic stunts, magical illusions, and hula hooping tricks. Nina “is super helpful in directing us, without her we wouldn’t be able to pull off such difficult stunts” said another student. The students will continue to develop their Circus Art skills in classes leading up to the LEAF Festival where they will reveal their amazing new talents to the public!


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

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