Peace Table

"LeAp’s Public Art Program gives our students a citywide platform to showcase their artistic talents and generate awareness for important issues facing their communities. We are thrilled to have LeAp as a partner in our efforts to enhance arts education in the schools.” Dennis M. Walcott, NYC Schools Chancellor

Public Art Program

Now in its seventh year, LeAp’s Public Art Program empowers young people to have a voice in their communities and express themselves on important social issues through the creation and public exhibition of art in NYC parks—culminating in the largest student exhibition in the history of NYC parks and the first to span the five boroughs, developed in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.


LeAp teaching artists work with two classes of middle school  students in 10 New York City public schools (two per borough) to:

  • explore social issues in their communities—from gangs, drugs, and violence to the economy, religious tolerance, and the environment
  • study the history, practice, and power of public art
  • create collaborative works of art that express their views on vital community issues, using a school lunchroom table as a canvas—a symbol of student ideas and conversations. Artworks consist of painted, collaged, or mosaic murals.



As part of each residency, students have a unique opportunity to meet with world-renowned artists, either at the artist's studio or gallery, in the school, or at the site of the artist's work. Guest artists past and present include Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Julian Schnabel, Chuck Close, Mark di Suvero, Milton Glaser, Jenny Holzer, Lorma Simpsom, Dennis Oppenheim, Kenny Scharf, Nari Ward, Audrey Flack, Vito Acconci, Christopher Wool, Alice Aycock, Mel Kendrick, Emma Amos, Leo Villareal, Tom Otterness, Betty Woodman, THomas Nozkowski, Tim Rollins, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Keith Sonnier, Sanford Biggers, Chris "Daze" Ellis, Federico Solmi, George Boorujy, Ned Smyth, Will Ryman, Julia Heffernan, Carol Goebel, David Katzenstein, Sherrie Nickol, George Woodman, Joe Sorren, Joseph Peller, Mary Mattingly, Seth Wulsin, Phyllis Galembo, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Marina Gutierrez, James de la Vega, Mary Miss, and Anne Marie McDonnell.




LeAp’s Public Art Program culminates with a citywide exhibition entitled, A VIEW FROM THE LUNCHROOM: Students Bringing Issues to the Table—the largest student exhibition in the history of NYC parks and the first to span the five boroughs, developed in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.  The general public, guest artists, school communities, and press are invited to a large-scale exhibition opening event at Union Square at which student artists from all 10 schools present their art tables and speak about the community social issues they addressed. Dignitaries and distinguished Guest Artists attend the event and honor the student artists. They have included Dennis M. Walcott (Schools Chancellor, NYC Dept. of Education), Kate Levin (Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs), Adrian Benepe (Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation), and Guest Artists Chuck Close, Audrey Flack and Tom Otterness.


Following the exhibition opening event, the 10 art tables are installed in 10 parks (two per borough) near the 10 schools, and the students present their art table at each park site.

View LeAp's Public Art Program Press Coverage 2011