Peace Table

Public Art Program

Now in its eighth 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's Public Art Program and Citywide Exhibition offers students the opportunity to share their artistic talents and shine a spotlight on pressing social and community issues. The visual and performing arts not only make learning fun, they help students develop the critical-thinking skills and sense of mastery they need to succeed in school and in life. I thank LeAp for being a partner in bringing innovative arts education to our public school students."

- New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña



LeAp teaching artists work with two classes of 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, gallery or museum exhibit, in the school, or at the site of the artist's work. This year’s Guest Artists include Christo, Crash, Daze, Bradley Hart, How & Nosm, Deborah Kass, David Katzenstein, Sherrie Nickol, Federico Solmi, Virginia Wagner, and Kehinde Wiley. Past Guest Artists include Julian Schnabel, Chuck Close, Mark di Suvero, Milton Glaser, Jenny Holzer, Lorna 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, George Boorujy, Ned Smyth, Will Ryman, Julia Heffernan, Carol Goebel, 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 in 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. There is an exhibition kick-off/press event at Union Square Park at which student artists from all 10 schools unveil their art tables and speak about the critical community issues they addressed in their work. Dignitaries and distinguished Guest Artists attend the event and honor the student artists such as Tom Finkelpearl (Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs), Adrian Benepe (Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation), Dennis M. Walcott (Schools Chancellor, NYC Dept. of Education), and Guest Artists Chuck Close, Christo, and Deborah Kass, among many others.


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