Twice a year in Black Mountain, NC, the anticipation surrounding a popular local festival is unmistakable. People gather from all over the region, and travel from across the country to attend a three day festival full of music, healing arts, incredible food, a zipline, swimming, local artists, and activities for kids. Since its creation, the festival has earned a reputation as one of the best festivals in the southeast.
But it’s not all about the party. LEAF Community Arts is a non-profit organization, established in 1995, to build community and enrich lives through the arts, locally and globally, through festivals, events, mentoring, and educational programs. When LEAF was created, it was an acronym for “Lake Eden Arts Festival”. As of 2012, the organization no longer uses the original acronym, except as a historical reference – it has transformed into LEAF Community Arts.
LEAF has several signature programs including LEAF Festival, LEAF Schools & Streets, LEAF International, LEAF Downtown AVL, and LEAF Local.
LEAF Schools & Streets is a cultural arts program that uses the arts to build community, bridge cultures, and empower youth. They aim to prepare young people for success in education, career, and citizenship. Among their youth programs is the Artists and Residencies program. Each academic year, LEAF Streets & Schools matches artists with community centers and after school programs, teaching them to work with young students in the community. Through this experience, young people perform onstage at LEAF, complete a visual arts project, or participate in another performance or workshop opportunity.
Nationally and internationally, LEAF has programs from New Orleans to India. The programs are based on community collaborations that are low cost, high impact, and environmentally sustainable. Through the power of music, dance, art, and cultural preservation, LEAF and their partners around the world engage and empower young people.
Partners for LEAF International include:
- Proyecto Jirondai in Costa Rica, a program that works to preserve Central American indigenous chants through research, education, and dissemination.
- Prosjekt Haiti, a community-driven organization in Haiti whose goal is to foster leadership among community members and meet the needs of families. Prosjekt Haiti focuses on education, capacity building and value creation.
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots in Tanzania is about creating positive change for communities, animals, and the environment. Through tens of thousands of young people in almost 100 countries, the Roots & Shoots network connects youth of all ages who share a desire to create a better world.
For a full list of LEAF International partners, visit: http://www.theleaf.org/li-partners/
You can see why this is more than just a music festival for us at GRB. Founders Brad and Sarah Martin have been attending LEAF and supporting their many programs for the past 15 years, and it has a special place in our hearts.
If you’d like to support these amazing programs while having the time of your life, join us October 17th-20th in Black Mountain. Every LEAF festival is a unique experience, where you’ll find community, dance, music, and something special just for yourself.
Check out the full details of the festival and purchase tickets here: http://www.theleaf.org/the-festival/