My friends over at LEAF Community Arts have a pretty great mission statement:
LEAF Community Arts is a non-profit organization, building community, connecting cultures and enriching lives through the arts – locally and globally – with festivals, community events and arts education programs.
It’s the kind of vision I can get behind. LEAF Community Arts grew out of the LEAF Festival, which has brought music, art, creativity and culture to thousands of families for twenty years, centered around two festivals, one in the spring and one in the fall, each year in Black Mountain, where I happen to live, too.
Over twenty years ago, when the first LEAF Festival happened, my name was on the poster. Several years later, in 2006, my long-time friend Jennifer Pickering, LEAF’s founder, called me up and asked me to lunch. She noted that the work I’m doing in the world lines up pretty well with their own work.
More than that, Jennifer knew that the non-profit I founded, PEG Partners, was working with students and the arts in Guatemala, and she wondered if it might make sense for PEG to partner with LEAF International (one part of LEAF Community Arts).
In 2007, the El Tejar Music Program began, as a partnership between PEG and LI. Suddenly, it has been twelve years, and the program continues to grow and flourish, with both organizations enthusiastically supporting the work being done there by local music instructors.
Teaming up on this work, rooted in a shared vision and compatible core values, seemed like the natural next step, and I was thrilled when LEAF’s Ehren Cruz invited me to be the inaugural artist in a new program called LEAF Artist Ambassadors, strengthening each other’s unique work by spreading the word and supporting each other, and teaming up often to build on everyone’s strength, and the inherent strength of working together.
In the next year, both PEG and LEAF are sponsoring trips to Guatemala, and I’ll be on both of them (and you’re invited!).
We believe that music and art have a powerful capacity to change the world for the better. If you believe that, too, we look forward to getting to know you better and seeing what we can do together.