Two women touching screen that is showing a map

LEAF Community Centers Interactives


In February 2020, LEAF (Lake Eden Arts Festival) opened its Global Arts Center in downtown Asheville, NC, providing a wide variety of opportunities for Asheville residents and visitors to learn about world culture with a focus on music, dance, and art. Interactive Knowledge designed and produced five separate touchscreen interactives that are installed on the main floor of the Center. The largest and most prominent interactive installation is the Go Global World Map. It spans five fifty-five inch monitors on the wall opposite the Center’s entrance. The four other interactives are located throughout the main floor and installed in custom-designed kiosks.

About the Project

LEAF’s mission is CONNECTING CULTURES and CREATING COMMUNITY through world music, arts education, preservation and experiences. While LEAF Global Arts had been operating for more than 15 years providing mobile experiences and education, they wanted a lively meeting place and cultural destination hub for visitors. They believe “the closest distance between two people is a story, a song, or a dance” and wanted to bring this to the community center through engaging audio and video from every corner of the globe. 


The goals

The goals of the project were to design and develop 3 different digital experiences within the community center.  The first was a full wall of a single world map where multiple users could explore country location, statistics, videos and music. The second experience where community center visitors could dive deeper into global regions and learn more specifics about that region’s culture.  The third interactive explored the many project LEAF supports throughout the world.


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    Individual stands in front of the far left of 5 touch screens and is reaching to interact with it

The IK approach

Go Global Map Wall

Installed on five connected fifty-five-inch touchscreen monitors, the Go Global Map Wall features an interactive map of the entire world. Visitors can choose anywhere on the planet and zoom into precise locations that include street names and recognizable geographic features. But that is just one of the intriguing features that visitors discover. The world map is overlaid with an animated “parade” of colorful images that each represent a country. Users can touch any of the images to select that country and see additional content. All of the countries have up to date content related to population, language, and other vital statistics. Many of the countries have additional multimedia content that makes for a very lively experience. Users can select from a series of icons that present country-centric content including location, a gallery of images, videos of local musicians or dancers (or both), instruments that are popular in the country, music that was written or performed by natives, and samples of the language.

The Go Global Wall includes a lot of audio and given the thirteen-foot wide installation, several people can be interacting with it at one time. We worked closely with LEAF and TSA Choice, a local Asheville installation firm to locate speakers that isolate the sound to an individual listener. There are five speakers mounted on the ceiling above the monitors. They deliver a very narrow but clear sound field so the music doesn’t bleed over from one user’s experience to another standing close by. 


Cultural Dive-Ins

Three separate forty-three-inch touch screen monitors are installed in a custom kiosk that delivers content on three world regions where LEAF is active - Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Each of the Cultural Dive-In interactive experiences features videos produced by LEAF on location around the world. The content is organized by country and the LEAF staff can add new countries as well as edit content on the countries that are already featured. We worked closely with the LEAF staff as well as staff from ESRI to modify ESRI Story Maps. These Story Maps provide an interactive format that is easy for visitors to navigate and for LEAf staff to curate. As LEAF begins new music, art, and dance programs in additional countries, the progress will be included on the appropriate Cultural Dive-In kiosk.


LEAF Love & Connections

Another fifty-five-inch touchscreen monitor, installed on the main floor of the new LEAF Global Arts center, presents up-to-date information about LEAF and all of the activities they sponsor in the Asheville area and around the world. LEAF Love & Connections includes a content-managed back-end that LEAF staff uses to edit and expand the content displayed on this interactive kiosk. ESRI Story Maps are used to deliver the content for the following sections of the interactive:

  • What is LEAF?
  • Cultural Arts Education
  • Global Arts Experiences
  • Signature Events
  • Community Engagement

One exciting feature of this interactive called, Explore our Global Community, will grow over time. Visitors are invited to enter the name of their home town and country through a web-based form. The entry appears as an icon on an ESRI web map. Visitors can explore the world map and zoom into specific locations where LEAF is active or where visitors have entered their data. 


The results

The LEAF Global Arts Center is a new destination for Asheville’s locals and tourists alike. Everyone who visits will find a wide variety of up-to-date content from around the world. We really enjoyed working with our partners at LEAF and look forward to more interactive projects in the future.