LEAF Global Arts is on a mission CONNECTING CULTURES and CREATING COMMUNITY through world music, arts education, preservation and experiences. The closest distance between two people is a story, a song, or a dance.

Visit LEAF year-round at LEAF Global Arts Experience
in Downtown AVL

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all who joined us for the 4th LEAF Global Arts Retreat. We're grateful to the artists, performers, culture keepers, vendors, and volunteers who brought their performances, ideas, and passions.

Thank you to YOU for attending and bringing your BEST LEAF SELF. Thank you for dancing and singing, learning and laughing, hugging, wondering, wandering, dreaming, and adding to the joyful tapestry of the weekend.

We are also deeply grateful to the Resident and Visiting Teaching Artists and all of the Buncombe and Madison County children who participated in teaching residencies — and reminded us of what it means to be global citizens.

LEAF in Our Community & The World

LEAF’s mission comes to life as an agent for positive social impact in many ways and places.

The “ways” include: cultural exchanges, residencies, programs, workshops, mentoring, Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab, Learning Journeys, Signature Events, and immersive experiences. “Places” include: LEAF Global Arts Center in downtown Asheville,  in communities across the world, in schools, in community centers, at event locations such as Lake Eden in Black Mountain, and downtown Asheville.

Measuring Our Success

Our vision is to create relationships with communities around the world in order to strengthen cultural and global arts education program with which to engage youths in their rich cultural heritage, while cultivating community and connection. These are our guiding tools:


LEAF global arts education program goals, curriculum, teacher & student evaluations are aligned with the  Developmental Assets Profile (DAP), developed by the Search Institute. The Search Institute has identified 40 assets which comprise a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. Building these assets prepare youth for success in some type of college or education, a career, and citizenship.

LEAF has identified and prioritized 6 assets that exemplify the types of skills our programs help to develop in our youth participants: 

  • Community Values Youth
  • Adult Role Models
  • Creative Activities
  • Cultural Competence
  • Personal Power
  • Self-Esteem

LEAF’s Global Arts Education programs align with Common Core State and NC Essential Standards to supplement what teachers are doing in their classrooms.

The UNESCO Culture for Development Indicators Suite identifies several dimensions that address the interrelations between culture and development. LEAF International aligns with 5 indicators that provide a guiding framework for quantifying the contribution of culture in development.

The 5 indicators that guide the design and evaluate global programs:

  • Economy Dimension
  • Education Dimension
  • Social Participation Dimension
  • Communication Dimension
  • Heritage Dimension

Within these 5 dimensions, 9 indicators are utilized by LEAF as direct indications of how our programs are enriching individual lives, communities, and preserving forms of cultural expression:

  • Cultural Employment
  • Inclusive Education
  • Professional Training in cultural sector
  • Tolerance of other cultures
  • Interpersonal Trust
  • Participation in cultural activities
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Heritage sustainability 
  • Access and internet use

Since 2018, LEAF Community Arts as a team with Buncombe County Schools (BCS) are John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – Partners in Education Program. This national recognition is only the 3rd cohort in NC! The SHARED purpose of LEAF and BCS as Kennedy Center – Partners in Education is to support teaching and learning by modeling the value of the arts integration and global awareness in all areas of education for lifelong, continued, and relevant learning.

LEAF's Impact

Since 1995
Global Arts Experiences


LEAFers at Events

Signature Festivals

Countries Represented


Virtual Events

Since 2004 Global Arts Education

Youth Participants

Youth Performers

Arts Education Programs

Easel Rider Youth

Kennedy Center Cohort BCSTeachers

Since 2006 Cultural Preservation

Youth Participants



ONEmic Studios

Culture Keepers

Cultural Exchanges

Give & Grow LEAF

Your generous gift supports cultural arts education locally & globally!

Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.