If you had a complete recording studio at your disposable, what would YOU imagine and create? For the youth at the LEAF ONEmic Studio at Burton Street in West Asheville, this wonderland of opportunity comes to life and the young artists rise to the occasion. “I want to create stories through my art,” one child proclaims. Wish granted. This year, Burton Street Community Center Staff and ONEmic Studio Manager and Hip Hop Arts Teaching Artist, Nex Millen, challenged the elementary aged youth in his class to discover the art of storytelling and combine it with their skills in audio/video production to create stop motion animation shorts. Through their group and individual projects, youth learned to collaborate, write scripts, film, edit and do voice-overs. In the fall, they each chose a person of interest to research and highlight for their “African American Heroes Project” and their shorts premiered at the EMErgence Tent within Global Outpost Village at LEAF Festival. “It takes a lot of work and focused energy to create these films. I am proud that they stuck with it and created such beautiful pieces of cinematic art” boasts Nex.

Next up? Youth will continue diving into aspects of audio and video production by learning a new technology, the Loop Pedal. Inspired by LEAF Festival Performer and Visiting Teaching Artist, Supaman, the ONEmic Studio is radiating with creative energy as youth make beats and songs unifying their own voices and the looping technology. This practice will allow them to add another piece to their video production chops, the soundtracks. The sky is the limit when a child’s imagination meets the tools necessary to see it through. LEAF Schools & Streets is constantly on a quest to diversify cultural arts education program offerings that resonate with today’s youth and amplify their unique perspectives. These are our leaders of tomorrow; they call the shots around here.