Improvisational storytelling for caregivers at You Are a Work of Art retreat. Photo by Mike Rollins.

ArtStream, Inc.

Mission and Strategic Plan

Mission Statement

Through collaborative performance and lifelong learning opportunities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain the skills and confidence to engage with the world.

Rehearsing “Out of Monet” with Arlington ITCs. Photo by Carolyn Ricks


We believe that when people make their own choices and are engaged, stimulated, challenged and inspired, they surpass both their own and others’ expectations.


To build an inclusive world where everyone can perform their art out.

Strategic Plan

Priority # 1 – Improving and Expanding Programs    

  • Maintain 6 Inclusive Theater Companies (ITCs) in MD and VA
  • Expand classes and workshops throughout the metro region: 21 partner organizations feature classes and workshops from St. Mary’s County, MD to Reston, VA. Summer camp at the Katherine Thomas School 6/18
  • Develop cabaret class and performance opportunity: First performance 2/12/18
  • Maintain and strengthen program quality through training and curriculum development for teaching artists: Trainings held 10/17, 1/18

Priority #2 – Community Building  

  • Develop an outreach strategy to cultivate current and future ArtStream participants
    • Target high school students and adults 18-22
    • Target potential interns and teaching artists: 41% increase in teaching artists from FY16 to FY17
    • Recruit and train program volunteers/intergenerational volunteers Registered with Montgomery County 50+ Volunteer Program
    • Develop program to include qualified people with IDD in volunteer opportunities: Accessible offices allow ArtStreamers to volunteer
  • Develop networking and sharing programs for parents/caregivers, and teaching artists: Teaching artist list serve started 7/17, teaching artist program sharing session 1/18; Parent meet and greet events started 9/17
  • Coordinate website/social media/newsletter strategy: Quarterly newsletters created

Priority #3 – Growth    

  • Strengthen and grow the ArtStream donor base: 24% increase in new donors from FY16 to FY17, average gift from all individual donors increased 93%
  • Develop foundation, government and corporate grant opportunities: Since 9/1/17, 18 grants, $160,495 received
  • Expand merchandise and increase sales (T-shirts, tote bags, notecards, books)
  • Find costume/set storage solution: Completed 8/17

Priority #4 – Strengthen our Organization   

  • Develop Board of Directors and provide pre-Board leadership opportunities: Two new board members elected 7/17
  • Strengthen staff team
  • Move to accessible office space: Completed 8/17
  • Obtain Maryland Nonprofits Standards of Excellence accreditation


ArtStream’s Story

Sally Kinka, Patricia Krauss, Emilia O’Connor, Nicolette Stearns, and Patricia Woolsey co-founded ArtStream, Inc. in May 2005. The five co-founders met while working at Imagination Stage, a children’s theatre located in Bethesda, Maryland. They were united by a passion for the arts and saw performing as both a method of healing and self-expression. The co-founders made it their mission to bring everyone opportunities to express themselves, especially those most in need of an outlet. These populations included children in hospitals, children experiencing grief, wounded servicemembers, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Over the course of many kitchen table discussions, ArtStream was born.

“All of us saw the power of the arts, and we wanted to use (the arts) to move society forward in some way.” — Patricia Woolsey, Founding Executive Director, via Montgomery Magazine, August/September 2015

ArtStream’s first job was through Camp Caring, hosted by Hospice Caring, Inc. The camp is designed for children experiencing grief. ArtStream’s puppetry workshop gave campers a fun project that helped them find their own voice. After that, community members started calling with interest in more programming from ArtStream. With such an outpouring of enthusiasm, ArtStream’s co-founders knew that by growing ArtStream they could reach hundreds of people who needed the arts in their lives. They began the process of incorporating as a nonprofit. The co-founders had no experience in starting a business, but their passion for changing lives helped the organization to achieve success.

Pirate Sally at Camp Caring. Photo by Patricia Woolsey.

Pirate Sally at Camp Caring. Photo by Patricia Woolsey.

ArtStream’s longest running partnership started the following September: music and dance classes for adults at Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC). ArtStream’s flagship Inclusive Theatre Companies for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) started in October of 2006. Both of these programs continue to thrive today.