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Photos courtesy of LeAp
Brad Hughes participated in LeAp’s public art program that showed him he had artistic ability he never knew he had.

Brad Hughes discovered talents he never knew he had thanks to a nonprofit dedicated to improving curriculums through art.

“This [project] gave me a different perspective,” said the seventh grader at P.S. 75 in Ridgewood. “It’s helped expand my creativity and how I think of things.”

The project, organized by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp), required Hughes to work with his classmates to transform a cafeteria lunch table into a work of art. The 12-year-old’s class chose to use the medium to address the preservation of rainforests.

“Rainforests are important,” he said. “They give off oxygen. [But] people are cutting trees and killing off animals.”

Hughes worked with his peers to give an informative presentation through art – something he had never done before. He made animals out of origami and created a 3D experience for his audience. While he showcased his work at the school art show, he also answered questions about rainforests.

“I never really thought I could do it,” he said.

William Carillo, a teacher’s assistant in Hughes’ class, said seeing him cooperate with his classmates was a treat.

“It was a good experience just to see them working together,” he said. “[Hughes] is very good at following directions. He’s also good at taking his own initiative when he needs to.”

Carillo called Hughes a very good listener and a “very, very good kid.”

At P.S. 75, Hughes and the students receive specialized instruction based on behavioral needs. Outside of school, Hughes likes to ride his bike, play video games and go bowling. He said he plans on getting involved in more art programs in the future.

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