LEAP’s Public Art Program uses a social justice framework to empower middle and high school students to have a voice in their communities and express themselves on social issues through the creation and public exhibition of art. This program instills social responsibility and civic engagement, imparts artistic skills, concepts and techniques, and fosters peer leadership, self-confidence and collaboration.
LEAP teaching artists work with New York City school students to:
Explore social issues in their communities
Study the history, practice, and power of public art
Create collaboratively painted works of art that express their views on vital community issues
Students transform ordinary cafeteria tables into murals, to symbolize bringing issues that are important to them to light and initiating a conversation around them.
As part of each residency, students have a unique opportunity to meet with world-renowned artists at their studios, as well as galleries, museums, exhibitions, and other sites. Guest Artists have included George Boorujy, Christo, Nancy Chunn, Daze, Julie Heffernan, Maia Cruz Palileo, Stephen Powers, Risa Puno, Andre Rubin, and Federico Solmi.
LEAP’s Public Art Program culminates in a historic citywide exhibition, developed in cooperation with NYC Parks. At a kick-off event at Union Square, student artists unveil their creations and speak about the critical community issues they address in their work. The table murals are then displayed in parks across the city for the summer, where hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors engage with the works of art.
"These kids are so brave. Their art speaks volumes about how we shape their growing brains and psyches. We need to remember just how much we influence their sense of security, hope, and kindness."