LEAF Schools & Streets inspires students to find and develop their artistic voice while supporting healthy youth development. As an arts education program,  LEAF Schools & Streets matches artists with youth in schools and communities for residencies, interactive performances and mentoring that includes empowering performance opportunities for youth (at LEAF Festival, and beyond!)

Community Need


There are many youth throughout Asheville and Buncombe County that have limited access to the arts.  If youth are not enrolled in school sponsored music and arts classes due to transportation and economic means, they have no way of engaging in culturally rich arts education.
Research shows that youth who are not engaged in high quality after school programs are more likely to engage in inappropriate and illegal behaviors in the after school hours.

Research from the President’s Council on the Arts &Humanities recently shared the benefits of high quality arts education:

Student achievement, typically as represented by reading and mathematics
performance on high stakes tests, including transfer of skills learning from the
arts to learning in other academic areas—for example, the spatial-temporal reasoning
skills developed by music instruction;
Student motivation and engagement, including improved attendance, persistence,
focused attention, heightened educational aspirations, and intellectual
risk taking;
Development of habits of mind including problem solving, critical and creative
thinking, dealing with ambiguity and complexity, integration of multiple skill
sets, and working with others; and
Development of social competencies, including collaboration and team work
skills, social tolerance, and self-confidence.

Goals & Vision

Our goals are to:

 children, their 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.

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

LEAF Schools & Streets Teaching Artists are from the local, regional and international community. The programs are designed to reach children and adults of different socio-economic backgrounds in the Asheville area and Western NC who have limited access to the arts. LEAF Schools & Streets partners with the community to provide engaging, rewarding arts experiences where they are needed most.



 Over 56,000 youth have participated in residencies, workshops
or performances since 2004.
 287 programs in schools (15 Title 1 schools)
 383 different arts education programs
 40 after-school programs / community centers
 Over 6,400 youth performers at LEAF

Year-round LEAF Schools & Streets programing for 2015:

17 Resident Teaching Artists
25 LSS weekly programs
3 low-income housing
8 community centers
7 after school programs

Inspiring CREATIVITY since 2004
“Since participating in LEAF Schools & Streets, I have noticed an increase in organization and improved grades in my child.”
Parent of Erwin Middle School Student