Congratulations to all of the talented LEAP students for their outstanding performances in our 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition! Each student actor shined on stage by demonstrating their ability to seamlessly inhabit August Wilson's diverse and complex characters shown throughout his Century Cycle works.
After months of preparation, 18 LEAP theater students from nine participating schools delivered outstanding performances that were incredibly well received by the audience of teaching artists, friends, family, and of course, LEAP staff and students at the MMAC Theater. Performances were judged on the basis of a variety of criteria such as energy, physical presentation and emotional connectedness. Student winners were selected by celebrity judges Jolie Garrett, Jamil A.C Mangan, Terry Berliner, Rosalyn Coleman Williams, Gary John LaRosa, and Jessica Frances Dukes. The first and second place winners, as well as an alternate, will go on to the National August Wilson Monologue Competition in May.

Student monologues were punctuated by special guest appearances and performances by Broadway and off-Broadway stars. Notably, Michael Potts of “Jitney” opened the evening and host, Monica Montgomery, the Founder of Museum Hue and the Museum of Impact, led the evening with enthusiasm and grace. Two Broadway stars, Aurelia Williams from "In Transit" and Tony Chiroldes from "In The Heights," both graced the stage while performing with the aide of pianist Frank Spitznagel. In addition to those amazing performances, audience members also had the opportunity to witness judge Jessica Frances Dukes perform her own version of an August Wilson Monologue to great acclaim. To end the evening, LEAP showed a video highlighting the student artist process and all of the hard work students did to truly understand August Wilson's representation of the human experience.

More than anything, LEAP is so proud of all of the student artists who showcased both their talent and their hearts by learning about the works of August Wilson, the artistic process, and their own theatrical power. The entire evening truly honored the legacy of August Wilson and his enormously influential works, all while highlighting the African-American experience throughout the 20th century.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our amazing student performers! And best of luck to our students who will be representing NYC at the National Competition in May!


LEAP is pleased to present its 15th Annual Student Art Show at the Citigroup Building Atrium in Long Island City, Queens. The exhibition showcases work by LEAP students in grades K-8 citywide. From African-inspired artworks and issue-based murals, to photo portraits of loved ones and Modigliani-inspired drawings, to 3-D birds and multicultural masks with a contemporary spin,
students explored a variety of art disciplines and techniques while learning core academic subjects.  

The exhibit runs through March 2017 and features work by students of LEAP's Afterschool Program at Teller Avenue Educational CampusX (Bronx), M.S. 51K (Brooklyn), M.S. 228X (Bronx) and M.S. 88K (Brooklyn), Robert E. Simon School 165M (Manhattan), New Venture Academy 219X (Bronx), University Neighborhood Middle School 332M (Manhattan) and I.S. 77Q (Queens), and includes work from LEAP’s Public Art Program and LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) Program.


As we mark the start of Women's History Month this March, we are proud to announce that LEAP has been named the recipient of a major award from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). With this grant, LEAP is implementing a new initiative that targets middle school students and focuses on the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York, illuminating the
complexities of the movement and exploring the struggle within the struggle through experiences and major contributions of women of color.  Women's Voices: Untold Stories, will expose students to the historical experiences of women of color having to break through interlocking systems of oppression to achieve basic human rights and pursue successful careers. Students will partake in innovative events, such as the Storybooth Project in which students will interview and collect the views and life stories of highly accomplished women of diverse backgrounds and fields, with a focus on how they see their lives shaped by Women's Suffrage. The project will also include a student-led panel that will allow students the opportunity to shift the power of dialogue and conversation to a youth-centered space and further connect life stories that stem from the seminal event of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

This initiative will culminate in a final event at which students will perform a history-based theater production that they create, highlighting the untold stories from women today that connect to the Women's Suffrage movement. This multi-disciplinary narrative piece will merge monologues, music and movement to entertain and educate audiences.


Using the Metropolitan Museum of Art as their classroom, PreK-8 teachers from across the city, alongside LEAP teaching artists, learned how to use paintings to spark dialogue, build vocabulary, and strengthen comprehension, listening, speaking, and overall literacy skills. This workshop used inquiry-based learning techniques and explored visual thinking strategies as a way to engage students in the ELA curriculum.

LEAP's Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) Program uses drama, visual arts, music, creative movement, cooking, games, and storytelling to improve young and emerging readers’ decoding skills, vocabulary, language fluency, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

    LeAp's seven Afterschool Sites are bustling with activity! From engineering projects to computer game design, LeAp's Afterschool students are bringing arts and academics together in surprising ways each day. 
    LeAp's seven Afterschool sites:
    J.H.S. 22X (SONYC)
    P.S. 129X (SONYC)
    P.S. 228X (SONYC)
    P.S. 125X (SONYC)
    M.S. 88K (SONYC)
    P.S. 51K (SONYC)
    P.S. 163M

    Click here to learn more about what's happening at our sites!

    In addition to LeAp's six Afterschool sites, LeAp teaching artists work in Afterschool programs in many schools citywide.

    Students from 10 NYC public schools, whose plays will be published by renowned publisher Samuel French, showcased their original plays and performed them at the Pearl Theatre as part of the LeAp OnStage program. LeAp OnStage, created by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp), immerses 500 underserved and culturally isolated public school students in an interactive and 
    comprehensive theater program. Since 2006, LeAp OnStage has transformed the lives of over 4,000 inner-city middle school and high school students, by inspiring youth to actively engage with the arts and opening up college and career opportunities in theater.
    Click here to read more about the LeAp OnStage Program.

    On Monday, May 2015, three LeAp students in LeAp’s August Wilson program participated in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition held at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway. Jonathan German (12th grader) from Repertory Company High School for the 
    Theatre Arts placed third out of 18 competitors in the nationals, winning a scholarship to Point Park University and $1,000 from the August Wilson Monologue Competition and Delta Air Lines. Darleny Suriel(12th grader) of Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts and Mario Escobar (9th grader) of Marta Valle High School also competed in the competition.
    Students from eight cities across the nation presented monologues before a panel of distinguished judges, including Crystal Dickinson, Brandon Dirden, David Gallo, and Pauletta Washington.

    Click here for more information on the August Wilson Program

    concepts.  This event was the culmination of the program and featured selected students from each of 12 schools who pitched their entrepreneurial projects to industry professional and potential investors and received advice on next steps for their business ventures. From “safe cups” (a cup with a temperature sensor to warn if liquid is too hot) to a “counting purse” (purse that counts how much money is in it), students presented their inspiring, useful and imaginative inventions.
    Click here to learn more about our Tomorrow's Entrepreneur's Program
    LeAp’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs program is a unique entrepreneurial program serving up to 1,500 elementary and middle school students in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx---inspiring students to dream big and create innovative, products, apps and business 

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the expansion of afterschool programs to include all middle schools citywide. As part of this initiative, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development has awarded major grants to LeAp to expand programming to four additional school sites to run major afterschool programs. LeAp will be reaching students in the Bronx at J.H.S. 125 and M.S. 129, along with students at M.S. 51 
    and M.S. 88 in Brooklyn. We look forward to meeting our new students at the start of the new school year this September!

    For over 30 years, LeAp has been providing afterschool programs to NYC public school students. LeAp’s afterschool programs have been recognized locally and nationally, and all classes include arts and educational hands-on activities for students.

    First-grade students from PS 1X in the Bronx are heading off to Central Park to go birding on May 20 as part of LeAp’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy program for kindergarten to second grade (ALLL K-2), a proven, effective, hands-on approach to teaching literacy through the arts.
    This nature adventure seeks to help students advance their literacy  
    skills, including science skills such as observation and classification and social studies skills such as understanding geography. The ALLL K-2 birds unit incorporates hands-on strategies which further reinforce phonics, vocabulary development, reading comprehension and writing skills.
    Click here to read more about the ALLL K-2 Program.

    LeAp's fourth year of its model Summer Quest Program was a great success! This NYCDOE-funded initiative utilizes innovate learning strategies and projects in order to prevent summer learning loss. Once again this summer, students were engaged in activities including exploring forests and looking for wild food sources, and learning about immigrants in Jackson Heights, Chinatown, and Ellis Island, to visiting 
    the Dyckman Farmouse to look for ghosts. All activities addressed the academic curriculum in math, science, history, reading and writing. 
    Click here for our Photo Gallery

    On October 16th, 2014, Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) and Citi honored the young artists whose works are currently on display in LeAp’s 13th Annual Student Art Exhibition with certificates and a Milk & Cookies Opening Reception. The exhibition is hosted by Citi and will run through early January. The exhibition is free and open to the public weekdays from 7am to 7pm.
    The exhibition features works by students in kindergarten through 6th grade who participated in LeAp’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) program and in LeAp’s Summer Quest program—a model initiative selected by the NYCDOE that uses the arts to teach the academics and address summer learning loss.

    LeAp at M.S. 22 continues to provide award-winning programming to youth living in the South Bronx. 
    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes a moment to celebrate four M.S. 22 LeAp Summer Camp (SONYC) NYC Department of Design and Construction Young Engineers at the Bronx Children Museum's sixth annual summer-long "Dream Big" initiative honoring African American musician and educator Dr. Valerie Capers. DDC Young Engineers were invited by DDC Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis pictured far left. Pictured 2nd from the right is long-time M.S. 22 LeAp Afterschool Program Director Monique Jarvis.

    Since 1977, LeAp has served over two million students and is excited to begin its 38th year partnering with NYC public schools. Now with hundreds of music, dance, film, theater and visual arts programs that all address the academic curriculum and align with the Common Core Curriculum and STEM initiatives. LeAp's seasoned Teaching Artists will be preparing to work with thousands of NYC public students, teachers, and parents throughout the five boroughs.

    Please click here to view our 2014-2015 program catalogue.  

    LeAp's ALLL PreK-8 Program (Active Learning Leads to Literacy) has begun in schools all across NYC, using multi-sensory and arts-based teaching strategies involving music, drama, visual art, dance, cooking, technology, and games to successfully teach literacy, creative-thinking, and problem-solving skills. 
    Students learn how to build vocabulary, master parts of speech, drastically improve writing skills, and enhance reading ability. Every year the ALLL students improve their reading levels AND their ELA test scores more than their non-participating peers.

    LeAp's ALLL program has been cited as a model for literacy learning through the arts by the United States Department of Education and the New York City Department of Education. 
    Click here to read more about our ALLL K-2 Program. 
    Click here to read more about our ALLL 3-5 Program. 
    Click here to read more about our ALLL 6-8 Program.

    LeAp's 14th Annual Student Art show, hosted by CITI, featured works by students in kindergarten through 6th grade who participated in LeAp’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) program, LeAp’s Summer Quest program (a model initiative selected by the NYCDOE that uses the arts to teach the academics and address summer learning loss) and LeAp Arts Residencies citywide. Ila Lane Gross, LeAp Co-Founder, said of the show, “This show demonstrates how much children can learn when taught through hands-on, arts-based 
    strategies. This approach to education captivates, engages, and effectively imparts academic skills and knowledge. I am so proud of our students. They have really become fine artists and academic scholars.”
    Students from all over New York City were featured in the show:
    209Q Clearview Gardens

    229X Dr. Roland N. Patterson School
    69X The Journey Prep School
    218X The Rafael Hernandez Dual Language
         Magnet School
    132X Garret A. Morgan
    14X Senator John Calandra
    The show runs through January at the Citigroup Building Atrium in Long Island City, Queens.
    Check out the gallery from the show!
    229K Dyker
    195K Manhattan Beach

    34M Franklin D Roosevelt School

    LeAp works in schools in all five boroughs of NYC. LeAp adapts its hands-on, arts-based activities to the specific learning style of every student. 

    This summer, residents all over NYC headed to the parks to support NYC students as they spoke out on police brutality, gun violence, gay rights, child neglect, racism, animal abuse, environment, family, and health through a citywide 10-park exhibition.
    In the Public Art Program, students transform cafeteria tables into 
    beautiful, meaningful and powerful issue-based works of art on display through the five boroughs from May to August.

    P.S. 219X

    P.S. 075Q

    P.S. 009Q

    P.S. 244X

    Click here for details of LeAp's Public Art Program.

    LeAp has hundreds of programs with music, dance, visual arts, drama, and film. 

    In this video, made by our creative LeAp intern, you can see the extensive list of subjects students can learn through LeAp's creative teaching methods. 
    From teaching Ancient Egypt to Orinthology to Zoology, our programs help students reach their full potential. 

    Click here to see the full list of programs in our catalog.

    vocabulary, and master grammatical structure. 

    From “Adverb Charades” and "Alphabet Hopscotch” to “Website Design” and “Doughnut Hole Objectives”, teachers are discovering innovative techniques in music, dance, theater, visual art, and cooking to literacy.

    Besides the ALLL Literacy program, LeAp works with teachers citywide, offering hundreds of professional development workshops that address the math, science, social studies and ELA curricula using arts-based strategies.

    To view about the quantitative data on the effectiveness of our ALLL programs, click here
    LeAp’s professional development initiatives are underway with classroom teachers citywide in our ALLL Literacy program.
    Not only are teachers learning to implement arts-based, hands-on strategies in their classrooms (through modeling and team teaching), but they are attending comprehensive workshops at New York University to learn new ways to teach reading comprehension, build 

    8th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition 

    On Thursday, March 3, 2016, seventeen LeAp students from nine New York City high schools participated in LeAp's 8th Annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition. Students brought August Wilson’s characters to life by performing one to three minute monologues from Wilson’s Century Cycle, ten plays chronicling the African-American experience in the twentieth century. A panel of celebrity judges ranked the performers based on a variety
    of criteria—from energy and physical presentation to emotional connectedness.​

    LeAp’s August Wilson Program introduces new generations of high school students to the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. In this program, students explore Wilson’s life, influences, and work, and examine relevant important social issues and historical events.

    Yancy Perez, of Repertory Company High School for Theare Arts (12th grade) was awarded 1st place for his portrayal of Becker, from Jitney. Benne McCants, of Hillcrest High School (12th grade) was awarded 2nd Place for her performance as Vera from Seven Guitars. Sarah Rodriguez, of Edward R. Murrow High School (11th grade) presented a monologue as Rena from Jitney, and was awarded an Alternate position.

    Pictured above left to right: Yancy Perez, Benne McCants, Sarah Rodriguez

    LeAp’s NYC August Wilson Competition is part of nationwide initiative, and LeAp’s 1st and 2nd Place winners of will advance to the National August Wilson Monologue Competition to compete against students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Seattle on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.


LeAp is thrilled to be welcoming Rich Souto as Executive Director. Rich has 14 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, serving youth and families in NYC’s most underserved communities with high quality education and enrichment programs.  Throughout his career, Rich has managed all aspects of operations including programs, finance, and infrastructure departments, and has held leadership roles 
during various stages of organizational development including start up, transition, growth and new site expansion.

Prior to joining LeAp, Rich was the Chief Operating Officer of Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School, a community-based organization and school serving over 2,000 young people from pre-k to college. Rich was also previously Executive Director of New Heights Youth, an organization that offers year-round educational and sports programs to young people in New York City. 
“I am inspired by the extraordinary achievements of co-founders Ila Lane Gross and Alice Krieger, and am excited to build on their accomplishments to advance the organization’s mission, deliver great programs, and lead LeAp into its next phase of impact.”

To read more, check out our Staff Page.

Thank You to our Co-Founders

After 38 years, Co-Founders Ila Lane Gross and Alice Krieger have stepped down from their posts as Executive DirectorS of LeAp, passing the torch of leadership on to LeAp’s new Executive Director Richard Souto. They will continue to work with LeAp as program consultants.
Over the years, Ila and Alice grew LeAp from a small nonprofit working in four schools in 1977 to today’s nationally recognized arts education nonprofit that has served over two million NYC public school students 

citywide. Their vision and leadership has resulted in diverse and rich arts-based academic programs that continue to touch the lives of students, teacher and parents each year.