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Teaching Artists

At the start of each academic year, LEAF Schools & Streets works to match available Artist in Residence, Resident & Easel Rider Teaching Artists with community centers and after-school programs for year-round programming. Teaching Artists work with youth, teaching them their performing art through rich, hands-on learning experiences that culminate with an opportunity for youth to perform on-stage at LEAF, or complete a final visual arts project, as well as other performance and workshop opportunities throughout their individual communities.

Easel Rider – Asheville’s Mobile Art Lab – is all about connecting people and art, and that’s exactly what these Teaching Artists do! Today, LEAF has a growing roster of 10+ Easel Rider Teaching Artists that facilitate a visual art project related to the theme of the community event or cultural art craft. Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab is used in many different capacities: after-school programs, community functions, specific school activities, outdoor activities & camps – reaching roughly reaching roughly 3,623+ youth at over 170 events in 2019.

Edwin Salas

Mexican Puppeteer, dancer and plastic artist

Madison Link

LEAF Vendor Co-Director, Realtor

Tarah Singh

lighting designer, stylist, consultant, chef, welder, painter, mother

Marsha Almodovar

Mother, Teacher, Painter, Entrepreneur and Activist

Jenny Pickens

Artist & Muralist

At the start of each academic year, LEAF Schools & Streets works to match available Artist in Residence, Resident & Easel Rider Teaching Artists with community centers and after-school programs for year-round programming. Teaching Artists work with youth, teaching them their performing art through rich, hands-on learning experiences that culminate with an opportunity for youth to perform on-stage at LEAF, or complete a final visual arts project, as well as other performance and workshop opportunities throughout their individual communities.

In 2021, Visiting Teaching Artists are Virtual and in Very Small Groups

Want to Empower Youth
through Cultural Arts Education?

BECOME A LEAF TEACHING ARTIST!

Former LEAF Schools & Streets Resident Teaching Artists

Amy Hamilton, Artimus Pyle, Asheville Urban Arts Institute, Ben Gradison, Bobby Fish, Christine Garvin, Dave Hamilton, DJ Kutzu, Dominique Scales, Edward Link, Edwin Salas, Erinn Hartley, Gary Bradley, Graham Hackett with Catalyst Poetix, Hunab-Kru, Imhotep, Ingrid Johnson, James Nave’, Jeanette Zwieg, Jeff Knorr, Jess Wharton, Jonathan Santos, Jon Cooley, Katie Oaks, Kelly Hanson, Kenya Webster, Kuumba Zuwena, Larissa Lopez, Lisa Abeling, Lola York, Lyric, Melanie MacNeil, Melina Palumbo, Michael Hayes, Nadirah Rahman, Nina Ruffini, Teren Gaskin, Ryulee Park, Skyler Goff, Kylie Irvin

LEAF Schools & Streets has a long legacy of talented teaching artists who have helped shaped who we are, where we’ve been, and have helped pave the way for where we may go.  We are forever grateful for their contributions and we honor them as an integral part of our organization.

Adama Dembele

Adama Dembele is a master djembefola (djembe player) from the Ivory Coast, West Africa. Born into a family of musicians, he has toured several continents with various major acts such as Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita, Affou Keita, Sogona Djata and many others. Adama has played in several drum and dance companies such as Yelembad’abidjan, Ensemble Koteba, Congoba and many more. In 2002, in collaboration with Siriki Sanogo, Adama founded Djembeso CI Drum and Dance Ensemble. “Djembeso” in the West African dialect Bambara means “the house of djembe.” Adama chose that name because his family has been playing the djembe for 33 generations and his native home was known as the house where the djembe is played. In 2005, Adama moved to the U.S. to perform and teach the sacred art of West African drumming. Since then he has played in major cities all over the United States. Currently, Adama resides in Asheville, NC, where he frequently performs and teaches authentic rhythms from Ivory Coast, Mali, and Guinea, West Africa.

Otto “Aquaboogy” Vazquez

Otto is an internationally acclaimed Broadway dancer, instructor,
choreographer & street dancer. Aquaboogy (who honed his craft in Miami & New York) has stellar credits: Pitt Bull, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, i-Luminate from America’s Got Talent, Diesel NYC, Dr. Pepper’s 2013 “One in a Billion” Nat’l Commercial, toured the world with the Broadway Series show, “Break, The Urban Funk Spectacular”, Cirque Du Soliel, Donald Trump, Run DMC, VH1, MTV, The Heat, The Knicks etc. Aside from an impressive dancing career, Otto enjoys teaching the trade to others, and leads workshops on dance with his wife, Jessica, around the nation – teaching about the history and culture behind hip-hop dance.

Melvin A.C. Howell

Melvin is an internationally cultured choreographer who has been transforming and molding lives, while evolving the art of dance since the age of nine. His approach is to “spread positivity, encouragement and guidance through dance.” With a background in fitness, art, and many different cultural styles of dance, Melvin brings a unique vision to the art. His visionary style and technique promotes growth physically, mentally, and emotionally. His style encourages a strengthened body, mind, foundation, and creative capacity. As a movement expert and master instructor in Hip Hop, Street Dance, and Animation, students can expect to learn, smile, laugh and grow as they are taken on a scientific and mathematical journey of body control. Students will learn to move unrealistically, like a robot or a cartoon, in a safe and healthy way through the understanding of their bodies, muscles, joints, and different angles. 

Agustin Frederic

Influenced by the vibrant and diverse musical traditions of his home-country of Costa Rica, Agustin pursued an education in music, social behavioral sciences, and jazz studies in Florida, catapulting him into the world of musicianship. He is a performer, touring and recording drummer and percussionist, sound engineer, music producer, and composer, with esteemed credits across the United States. As a percussion teacher, Agustin’s mission is to awaken life, positivity, and joy. Agustin accesses his extensive repertoire of knowledge and skill in drum set, orchestral percussion, hand drums (Latin, African, Middle Eastern), marching and rudimental percussion, percussion ensemble, and Brazilian percussion to custom tailor programs that cater to the needs and goals of the individual or group. No matter the aim, percussion’s global roots can offer a direction.

Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith began filmmaking as a teen, where she quickly came to love the medium for its cross between creative potential and technical challenge. Her first project at Carleton College, was a multiple award-winning documentary about four goth teens in Northfield, MN. She immersed herself in the collaborative potential of movie production and taught both as a college student. Her work has been screened twice on PBS, San Francisco & Ft. Lauderdale film festivals, and in the Walker Art Center’s Independent film series; she built a production studio in Key West and used it to make documentaries and commercials. She currently teaches both live-action and stop-motion film to kids of all ages.

We appreciate your interest & passion to be a LEAF Teaching Artist!

If you would like to be Resident Teaching Artist, please CLICK HERE!

If you would like to be an Easel Rider Teaching Artist, please CLICK HERE!

If you’d like more information on being a LEAF Teaching Artist in general, please CLICK HERE!