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LEAF Festival is produced by LEAF Community Arts, a non-profit organization established to build community and enrich lives through the arts, locally and globally, through festivals, events, mentoring, and educational programs. When LEAF was created in 1995, it was an acronym for "Lake Eden Arts Festival". As of 2012, we no longer use the origin except as a historical reference- it has transformed into LEAF Community Arts often referred to as "LEAF". LEAF has several signature programs including: LEAF Festival, LEAF Schools & Streets, LEAF International, LEAF Downtown AVL, and LEAF Local.
Occurring twice a year since 1995, LEAF Festival, based in Black Mountain, North Carolina has established a reputation as being one of the best festivals in the southeast. The Washington Post recognized it in 2001 as, "The best cultural Mix and Match Festival in the nation". The festival includes international and local music, handcrafts, dancing, cuisine, children's activities, outdoor adventures, drum circles, a zipline, canoeing, etc.
The home of LEAF, Lake Eden Events & Camp Rockmont, has an intriguing history. Prior to becoming a camp, in the 1940s it was the site of the historic Black Mountain College (BMC). Many of the century's most celebrated artists and thinkers attended the college as teachers or students: Albert Einstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Anni Albers, Merce Cunningham, Rothko and Buckminster Fuller (who designed the first geodesic dome there). Prior to BMC, in the early 1900s, Edwin Wiley Grove (of the Grove Park Inn and Grove Arcade) developed the land and constructed some buildings with his trademark native stone fireplaces. Prior to Grove, The Lake Eden Inn and Resort offered a getaway for people seeking its healing waters and rejuvenating air.
LEAF in Schools & Streets is a non-profit collaborative outreach program bringing performing artists into schools and community centers for hands-on workshops, residencies, and interactive performances. The experience provides opportunities for youth to perform alongside resident artists on a national stage, with family members in the audience. The program provides participating youth with a diverse experience that includes workshops,performances, interactions with performing artists, and a festival adventure.