Our Inspiration: A Note from Our Director

“The LEAF Arts Education Outreach Programs of LEAF International [LI] and LEAF Schools & Streets [LSS] both grew out of seeing a gap and a need. Global cultures have always been one of my passions. Since I started LEAF, I have learned that music and dance are the most powerful vehicles to keeping culture alive while also connecting people. While traveling, I started to dream of a way to be able to connect deeper with the ‘locals’ while also ‘giving back.’ While in Bequia, I inquired about how many kids on the island were learning the local steel pan tradition…only ONE! At the local school, I asked them if I secured instruments and a local teacher, would they host a program…of course! LEAF International was on its way. Now over 70 kids on the island have learned how to play pan, and LEAF International has turned from an inspired conversation to a collaborative program that operates in 10 countries around the world. 

LEAF was one of only two national festivals asked to present to the NEA council in response to their “Outdoor Festival Study.” Most organizations create one to nine outreach programs annually. LEAF, through LEAF International and LEAF Schools and Streets, creates over 60 annual arts education programs! LEAF is a small festival with a big vision and outreach. All gifts, donation and earnings are maximized to make a 100% direct, positive difference!

The vision for both LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International continues to be based upon community collaborations that are low cost and high impact, with a focus on being local and sustainable.

We are all stronger together, and music and arts helps bring so much positive life to our communities!

-Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Executive Director & Founder