The Makings of a New ArtStream
When Sally Kinka left the metro DC area for Raleigh, North Carolina, she had high hopes of bringing ArtStream to a new audience. Starting out fresh in North Carolina would be a challenge, but she was up to the task.
If anyone were to bring ArtStream to a new state, Sally was the one to do it. She certainly had the right qualifications. As writer and director of Gaithersburg Inclusive Theater Company B from 2007-2009, Sally had experience creating and directing an original musical with the help of her cast, mentors, and staff.
The only difference was that this time there were no cast members, mentors, or staff. When Sally and the other co-founders started ArtStream in 2005 they had an array of enthusiastic actors and artists in the area to help make the program a success. ArtStream NC was a whole different ballgame. Sally came to Raleigh knowing no one, having to start an organization from scratch, which proved to be quite a challenge.
The hardest thing Sally has faced in building ArtStream NC over the past two and half years has been finding the funding to put her programs on. Many of the actors cannot pay the tuition fees for the inclusive theater company, which means relying on grants and donations.
Sally has also put together a program at WakeMed Hospital, which she visits once a month. “I would be there five days a week if the hospital could afford it,” sally laments.
Luckily she was able to partner with a local high school’s theater department whose students need community service hours, which has provided her with mentors on and off stage and a free rehearsal space.
Still despite the challenges, Sally has successfully produced two inclusive theater shows since she came to Raleigh and has received great praise and enthusiasm from the Raleigh community. “When audience members watch the bag boys they see everyday in the grocery store singing and dancing on stage, they are astonished and delighted,” Sally notes.
Even the North Carolina school board has taken notice. The superintendent Anthony Tata recently sent a personal letter to each mentor in Sally’s group saying how proud he was for their work.
In just a short time, Sally has become well known as an expert on special needs inclusivity. Recently, she was invited to be a guest speaker at a luncheon to show teachers how to be more inclusive to special needs students in the classroom.
When asked what she sees for the future of ArtStream-NC, Sally responds, “I sense that it will take off, but it’s a slow process and it is still experiencing ‘growing pains.’ I hope to eventually get to the point where I have more work than I can handle and I have enough money to hire a staff to help me out. It has been a grand experiment in trying out ArtStream in a new state and I hope that the seeds we sew now will eventually be popping up all over the country.”
We hope so too Sally.
Read more about Sally’s work with ArtStream-NC!
- Posted on Fri 6/29/12