LEAF Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab
Easel Rider – Asheville’s Mobile Art Lab – is all about connecting people and art. The City of Asheville’s Parks & Recreation Division has partnered with LEAF Community Arts to operate the Easel Rider, helping boost access to public art. The Easel Rider provides interactive hands-on activities that invites the Asheville community to experience creation on the go!
Meet the New Easel Rider!
Early in 2017, Harmony Motors, generously gifted the LEAF Easel Rider team with a nearly-new Sprinter van to help meet the demand for the Mobile Art Lab in more cities across the state and region. Alas! Easel Rider would be able to retire old Betsie (as the old breadtruck was lovingly called when she needed extra special TLC) and embark on a journey of new heights. Through a very intentional and creative process, the LEAF Cultural Arts team worked with Nate Ballinger of Bearwallow Construction to outfit the interior and create safe storage conditions; Tommy Lee, visual artist and designer to create the fresh new look; Dean and team of Sign One to get the vehicle wrap art installed and ready to rock. In the process, we gained new friends and collaboration possibilities at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff (based in Boone, NC & Asheville, NC) and Maybin Mission, founded by Houston Astros’ Cameron Maybin.
LEAF Love to all the Teaching Artists, partners, organizations & supplies that keep the wheels on the art lab going ’round!
Unveiled at 45th LEAF Festival
Easel Rider History
In 2011, the Cultural Arts Division of converted a 1984 bread truck into a rolling art studio and showcase. In 2011, the Asheville Cultural Arts division realized that it had a high-quality arts and cultural heritage program, but were having a difficult time reaching the entire community, so they converted a 1984 bread truck into a rolling art studio and hit the road! The Easel Rider contains 80 linear feet of art supplies, a sound system, and projectors.
In July 2013, the City of Asheville partnered with LEAF to continue Easel Rider programming. LEAF Community Arts hires teaching artists that come with the truck to your event to facilitate an art project related to the theme of the event. The Easel Rider is used in many different capacities: after-school programs, community functions, specific school activities, outdoor activities, and summer camps, reaching approximately 4,500 youth a year.
Easel Rider’s primary programs are in partnership with City of Asheville Parks & Recreation Department, therefore events happening at those facilities and organized by City staff are no cost to reserve. All other organizations and events will need to plan for a nominal fee to book the Easel Rider, which directly supports our fabulous Teaching Artists, fuel our gas costs and help replenish supplies!