Meet our Current Resident Teaching Artist Team!

LEAF has the opportunity to impact youth beyond the festival experience. Support from LEAF artists and festival-goers allows LEAF to provide resources where art and culture are needed in schools and communities. We are thankful for our talented artists.
These classes meet 1 – 2 times weekly throughout the school year!

Resident Teaching Artist Spotlight

Cleaster Cotton

Bringing Innovative Learning Techniques to LEAF

“Innovative learning brings boundless possibilities.” ~ Cleaster Cotton (2005)

Cleaster Cotton brought her new wave of learning to LEAF and the Easelrider program to help improve literacy and communication skills within our community. ALNUGE is her self invented educational program that does all of this. She has been all over the United States spreading her amazing system of ‘modern day hieroglyphics’ before landing in Asheville and beginning her work for LEAF in 2010. 

Her mother and grandfather’s positive, artistic influence on her life has prompted her to provide the same opportunity she had to others, promoting learning and creativity along the way. She aspires to be a role model to all students and was instrumental in the creation of Easelrider in 2014, a program that helps to bring art and music to the community. 

Cleaster has had years and years of experience working in various communities through out the United States, instituting cultural and educational programs, garnering hundreds of awards for her work in the process. It is an honor for LEAF to have this opportunity to work with such an esteemed educator.

To find out more about Cleaster and her artwork, please visit her artist profile at

To learn more about the ALNUGE program, please visit

 Through Cleaster, LEAF Schools & Streets is connecting CULTURES & creating COMMUNITY through music & arts!

In Memory Of 

Several LEAF Schools & Streets teaching artists have devoted their lives to inspiring youth through the arts.  We are blessed and thankful to have known and worked with these beloved artists before they passed.  Visit their pages to learn more about their life’s work and ways you can continue their mission.