The closest distance between two people is a story, a song, or a dance.

Welcome to LEAF! Celebrating 25 years

 Join us on a MISSION to cultivate a thriving global COMMUNITY generated by the power of cultural curiosity, CONNECTION, and preservation through global music and arts EDUCATION and experiences.

3 Ways to Experience LEAF Now?
1. Reserve a LEAF Global Experience in Downtown AVL
2.  Explore LEAF’s Equity & Global Resources
3. Connect to Virtual & Small Events: Reimagine 2020 Oct 2-4

JOIN Membership

to support LEAF's mission & vision.

The quintessential importance of LEAF is bringing people together...


Adama Dembele, Master Djembefola, Teaches West African Culture
Schree Chavdarov and LEAF International Answer the Question, "Why Culture?"
Jennifer Pickering, on the New World, The Power of Art, and What it Really Means to be White

What is LEAF?

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, and now LEAF is also Virtual.

Impact in our Community & The World

Measuring Success

Our vision is to create relationships with communities around the world to strengthen cultural & global arts education programs to engage youth 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.

Give & Grow LEAF

Your generous gift supports cultural arts education locally & globally!

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Welcome! Karibu!

Celebrating 25 years!

Connect. Create. Cultivate.
A thriving global community.