“I can’t believe I can do this! I cant wait to give this to my mom.” – 10 year old at Tempie Avery Summer Camp

From the heart of Downtown Asheville to the classrooms and parks of every Asheville Parks & Recreation Community Center, the Easel Rider cruised to 200 events this summer offering over 1,230 youth the opportunity to express their authentic selves through visual arts and crafts.

Every Wednesday, LEAF Teaching Artists teamed up to offer performing arts workshops coupled with visual arts activities for another electric Cultural Arts in the Park Summer Series at Pritchard Park. The series is a joint partnership with the Asheville Downtown Association, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the common thread of music and art.

“When I walked up it felt like something special was going on. To hear the music and see the art really makes my day.” – Cultural Arts in the Park & Pritchard Park participant

At another summer favorite, the U-LEAF Mobile Stage and Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab joined forces with the Asheville Housing Authority Family Self Sufficiency Program, SNAP to Skills, and Green Opportunities to co-host the Community Engagement Social Series throughout Asheville. The Hillcrest, Deaverview, Pisgah View and Southside communities celebrated their individuality and success through community resource fairs, performing arts showcases, arts and crafts and other family fun all summer-long!

“I love what ya’ll are doing here. We need more art in our community thank you for being here.” – Parent of 3 year old at Deaverview Community

This summer also welcomed new opportunities for the Easel Rider to help connect communities and bridge cultures. We were honored to be a part of Southside Rising for Justice at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center uniting community residents, partners and allies through food, cultural arts and civic engagement. At the East End/Valley Street Heritage Festival Easel Rider helped to celebrate this neighborhood’s powerful history and culturally-rich roots with interactive art pieces honoring social activists that have paved the way before us.

“Oh yeah, art! This is my favorite part! I always look for the Easel Rider when we go to stuff downtown!” – 7 year old at the Pack Square Park Fourth of July Celebration

Wherever the Easel Rider might land, one thing is for sure, it will bring with it the boundless happiness, freedom and sense of pride that come with creating original pieces of artful expression that only YOU can imagine.

“I like to talk about being happy. I’m going to hang this in my room to remind my self to be happy everyday!” – 7 year old at Deaverview Community Center