Public Art Program

Now in its ninth year, LeAp’s Public Art Program empowers young people to have a voice in their communities and express themselves on social issues through the creation and public exhibition of art—culminating in the largest student exhibition in the history of NYC parks and the first to span the five boroughs. This program instills social responsibility and civic engagement, imparts artistic skills and techniques, and fosters peer leadership and team building.

LeAp's Public Art Program

"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
Visits with Internationally Renowned Guest Artists
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 racism, gun violence, and LGBT rights to the economy, religious tolerance, and the environment
  • Study the history, practice, and power of public art as a vehicle to communicate to a large audience
  • 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 Sebastian Blanck, Christo, Daze, Bradley Hart, Mel Kendrick, Stephen Powers, Orlando Richards, Lorna Simpson, Federico Solmi, and Chat Travieso. Past Guest Artists include Julian Schnabel, Chuck Close, Mark di Suvero, Jenny Holzer, Kehinde Wiley, Milton Glaser, Dennis Oppenheim, Kenny Scharf, Nari Ward, Audrey Flack, Deborah Kass, Vito Acconci, Christopher Wool, Alice Aycock, Crash, Emma Amos, Leo Villareal, Tom Otterness, Betty Woodman, Thomas Nozkowski, Tim Rollins, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Keith Sonnier, Sanford Biggers, How & Nosm, George Boorujy, Ned Smyth, Will Ryman, Julia Heffernan, Carol Goebel, George Woodman, Joe Sorren, Joseph Peller, Mary Mattingly, David Katzenstein, Sherrie Nickol, Virginia Wagner, 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 summer 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 in summer 2016, developed in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation. There is an exhibition kick-off/press event at Union Square Park on Tuesday, May 24 at 11:30am at which student artists from all 10 schools unveil their art tables and speak about the critical community issues they address in their work. Dignitaries and Guest Artists attend the event and honor the student artists. 
NYC Parks and Recreation, NYC Department of Education, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Socrates Sculpture Park, Marshall Fine Arts, Ltd., Astoria Bank, Kinder Morgan Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, LeNoble Lumber Co., Inc., School Excess, The Compleat Sculptor,, Whole Foods Market New York City,, Smooth Move NYC, Environmental Technology Inc., KADKO, CAMBRO, and Union Square Ballroom.