Leap: Arts in Education
Cultivating Community Through Art
For thirty-five years, Leap, located in the Mission district of San Francisco, has addressed the need for high-quality youth education by serving kindergarten through eighth-grade schools in the Bay Area with sequential, hands-on and collaborative programs in drumming, dance, creative writing, chorus, theater, architecture, and the visual arts. Leap is represented in schools by teaching artists who custom design programs to fit individual school needs, meet state standards, and integrate the arts into the academic curriculum. Leap will reach more than 7,000 students in thirty Bay Area schools in 2014.
Leap’s mission is to provide quality arts education programs that empower students to reach their fullest potential, and the organization envisions a world where art is a fundamental part of every child’s education and success. Inadequate funding and lack of instructional time are significant barriers to arts education in San Francisco Bay Area public schools. Leap breaks down these barriers and reduces the achievement gap by providing equitable access to an education in multidisciplinary arts. Leap’s annual evaluation results prove that its programs help children not only become artists, but also develop valuable skills, which are essential for success in the twenty-first century: creative problem solving, critical thinking, and confidence. These skills transform students into future leaders and adept critical thinkers.
In partnership with a Leap teaching artist, second-grade students at the Chinese Immersion School in San Francisco created the ink-and-watercolor paintings on exhibition. A teaching artist worked closely with classroom teachers to integrate the arts into the social studies curriculum with shared themes of family, neighborhood, and community. During a field trip, students observed and sketched Victorian houses in their neighborhood. Each student then created an ink-and-watercolor painting of their chosen house and wrote a brief description of who lives inside. This project allowed students to hone their observational, design and writing skills, and cultivate an appreciation for the unique architecture of their neighborhood while deepening their understanding of their community.