2014 to 2016


•BEST OF WNC Mtn Xpress Hall of Fame Awards: #1 Non-Profit Serving the Arts #1 Music Festival! #1 Festival for Kids! #1 Festival for Camping! (Best of Received for 3 categories 2013-2016)

•LEAF International Bequia and LEAF International Rwanda Intore make the journey to LEAF Festival for Cultural Exchanges and stunning performances esp. when Patrick of Rwanda took Lakeside Stage with Balken Beat Box.

•LEAF Love Fund Campaign is a success securing pledges to build a $1 million Endowment Fund. 

•Home Run Series with U-LEAF & Easel Rider are launched in local AVL housing communities to help build community connections.

•LEAF Djembeso, group of young dancers and drummers, led by djembefola Adama Dembele, launches at Christine W. Avery Center.

•42nd LEAF Festival acknowledges the widespread Cuban influence on music and arts with Juan de Marcos & the Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Danay Suarez, Nano Stern, Pedrito Martinez, Tizer & more!

•LEAF Southside Drummers & LEAF Delta Jazz Band visit epic Battle of The Bands featuring HBCU’s Bands.

•LEAF launches ‘LEAF Radio’, a community radio program as a part of the WPVM 103.7FM station’s collection of voices. 


•LEAF Schools & Streets welcomes new Ambassador Cameron “Cam” Maybin, former Atlanta Braves Player and current Detroit Lions player. Cam visits LEAF Schools & Streets programs and helps lift the voices and dreams of local youth.

•LEAF Awarded National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for Espirtu de Cuba, supporting Cuban performing artists at the Spring 2016 LEAF Festival.

•LEAF International and LEAF Schools & Streets Cultural Exchange representing three countries: Haiti, Guatemala, and local Asheville youth.

•LEAF Celebrates the Spirit of New Orleans 10 years post-Hurricane Katrina at the 41st Festival.

• 1st LEAF Downtown AVL welcomed 15,000+ families & friends from all neighborhoods AND Bootsy landed the Funk Mothership in Pack Square Park: August 1st-2nd!

• LEAF awarded for the 3rd consecutive year BEST OF WNC Mtn Xpress Awards: #1 Music Festival! #1 Festival for Kids! #1 Festival for Camping! #Outdoor Fair/Event Selling Arts/Crafts-Arts & Entertainment

•1st Bootsy Collins Funk Dynasty Day at New Mountain- FUNKtastic!

•LEAF Awarded Grants: South Arts Regional Touring Grant for Cedric Watson, NC Arts Council New Realities Grant, NC Arts Program Support, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation: Southern Exposure, Art in The Park, and City of Asheville Youth Development Grant. These grants fuel LEAF’s mission.

•U-LEAF Mobile Community Stage, created by AVL Design Build Studio Students, unveiled at LEAF Downtown.

•LEAF Southside Drummers receive 1st official LEAF Uniforms sporting a NOLA Mask inspired by Chief Shaka Zulu

• 2nd LEAF Arts & Park Summer Camp at Grant Center with 93 kids was a success with so many artists!

• LEAF Celebrates it’s 40th Festival with Global Gratitude, performing artists representing 30 countries

• International miracles do happen! All 18 of the LEAF International Costa Rica (Bribri & Ngabe-Bugle First Nations) kids & musicians & parents are granted visas 10 days before the festival. Rainbow Mountain School hosts LEAF International for a extraordinary cultural exchange for several days including homestays.

• LEAF Downtown AVL is officially announced to the community.

•Creating Global friends through LEAF International (LI) Skype exchanges with LI Haiti and LEAF Schools & Streets (LSS) Southside  Drummers as well as LI Rwanda and LEAF Delta Jazz Band.

• AVL Design Build Studio 2015 summer project awarded to LEAF for the U-LEAF Mobile Community Stage

• LEAF Delta Jazz Band collaborates & studies with Preservation Hall Jazz Masters and Mardi Gras Indians on the 2nd Bi-Annual NOLA Musical Journey

• LEAF International Tanzania St. Joseph Dancers win 2nd in the 1st Annual Arusha Inter-School Cultural Competition

• LEAF Southside Drummers led by Imhotep is officially established

• Tribal Reunion at Ngabe Comarca Capital! LEAF International brought LI Ngabe Kids, Parents, & Artists from Costa Rica to their homeland in Panama for their 1st exchange and journey out of Costa Rica

• 1st LEAF International Cross-Cultural Exchange Adventure with LEAFers going to LI Costa Rica & Panama

• Burton St. One Mic Studio is in full action with LEAF Schools & Streets Classes

• 40th LEAF Festival Theme announced: Global Gratitude with a special feature of Tribal Tributes

• LEAF awarded NEA Tribal Tribute grant bringing R. Carlos Nakai, LEAF International Bribri & Negabe-Bugle and the Warriors of Anikituhwa to share Native American traditions with Artspace Charter School.

• LEAF Schools & Streets awarded South Arts Grant for Cedric Watson to share creole traditions with Asheville Middle School.

• EMErgence makes its grand electronic music appearance at the LEAF festival.

• LEAF International Rwanda Skype Concert with LEAF Office


• LEAF Schools & Streets Wesley Grants Southside Drummers Skype Cultural Exchange with LEAF International Haiti-Prosjekt Haiti Drummers

• LEAF International Cultural Teaching Artists Exchange with LI Costa Rica and LI Guatemala

• 1st LEAF International Guatemala Music Camp. LI Guatemala’s 1st End of Year 2 week Music Camp at 2 schools. In the 2nd school, older students were transformed into teaching artists.

• 2nd EMErgence: Electronic Music Experience Connecting Local Youth with Music & Technology week long immersion happened at Burton St. One Mic, Asheville High School, New Mountain, & one eve at Echo Mountain. [support by Dan Lucas Foundation, Ben Gradison Funds & equipment support by Michael Selverne & LEAF Friends]

• 3rd Annual Masquerade Ball at Zealandia Castle supporting of LEAF Schools & Streets

• 39th LEAF Festival’s theme was “Celebrate Unity. Inspire Every Voice”. Tibetan Monks blessed LEAF Grounds and presented Performing Arts Director with Khata for Positive Community Leadership

• LEAF Schools & Streets awarded South Arts Grant for Middle Grounds representing many Middle East countries to Erwin Middle School

• LEAF Teaching Artist & Ambassador Dave Hamilton records Natalia Clavier of Thievery Corporation w/ BriBri First Nation

• LEAF on Mtn Xpress Big Ideas Timeline of AVL’s History

• Executive Director, Jennifer Pickering, recognized as WLOS Person of The Week

• IREX fellow from Macedonia works with LEAF Schools & Streets Aug-Nov

• LEAF awarded for the 2nd year BEST OF WNC Mtn Xpress Awards:
             #1 Music Festival! #1 Festival for Kids! #1 Festival for Camping!

• LSS Pritchard Park Summer Series on Wednesday with AVL Downtown Assoc.LIHaitiweb

• One Mic at Burton Street w GO launched [supported by Ben Gradison Funds]

• 1st LEAF Summer Camp at Grant Center with 60 kids was a success!

• LEAF International Haiti & Prosject Haiti came to LEAF for a 10-day Cultural Exchange

• LEAF International Haiti Gals were inducted into the Bootsy Girls Foundation

• LSS Tri-Series Cultural Exchange led by Billy Jonas with YWCA, North Buncombe Middle, & Beth Ha-Tephila

• LEAF awarded BEST OF WNC Mtn Xpress Awards: #1 Music Festival! #1 Festival for Kids! #1 Festival for Camping!

• “Free Your Funky Self” at LEAF May hosted super stars of FUNK. Bootsy Collins’s Legendary Funk Mothership Lands at May LEAF.

• Grants received to support programs: Swannanoa Community Foundation, South Arts & Grassroots

WNCFeaturePic• Rising Appalachia visits LI Costa Rica Bribri as LI Ambassadors for Song Exchange

• LI Kenya launched in partnership with TWAAF [supported by Ben Gradison Funds]

• WNC Mag features LEAF: “The Givers: Positive Reinforcements” 

• Easel Rider participates in AVL’s MLK Peace Rally

• LEAF on Mtn Xpress Big Ideas Timeline of AVL’s History

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.