I am writing with very exciting news: ArtStream is taking off! As a result of its tremendous growth, I am stepping away from my position as Executive Director and into a new role as Artistic Director. I am excited to focus exclusively ArtStream’s programming, especially the inclusive theatre model.
To prepare for this exciting future, we have hired an Interim Executive Director, Heather Paul, a woman with a successful career in running nonprofit organizations. Also an artist, Heather is enthusiastic about ArtStream’s mission and its goals, and keen to see ArtStream develop into an even stronger, more vibrant and influential creative nonprofit. She will be with us as we search for a permanent Executive Director. That search will begin later this summer.
Our other exciting news is that ArtStream is now officially nine years old! It’s hard to imagine that our first program was at Hospice Caring in Gaithersburg, MD, in May of 2005. We were so excited to be given the opportunity to show the community what we had to offer, and now we have grown so much and worked with so many more wonderful people.
I’m so proud of ArtStream’s many accomplishments. Over the past nine years we have worked with hundreds of children, teens, and adults through our plays, community partnerships, and leadership programs. We have produced 46 original Inclusive musicals in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, each one changing the lives of our performers and challenging audiences to see what people with disabilities are capable of accomplishing; we have worked at bedside with thousands of wounded military personnel and their families at Walter Reed; and we have brought engaging, inspiring storytelling to hundreds of children at WakeMed and Duke University Hospitals through our North Carolina program.
ArtStream also has received great recognition. Our work at Walter Reed was presented to the U.S. Congress this past October as a “model arts in healthcare” program. And, as most of you know, ArtStream was selected as “One of the Best” community nonprofits by the Catalogue of Philanthropy: Greater Washington, a seal of approval for the creative and important work that we do.
In addition to all of this, ArtStream has a strong board and staff who work hard to ensure that our programs continue to thrive. I have thought long and hard about this decision to step down as Executive Director and have the complete support of ArtStream’s Board of Directors. This new position of Artistic Director will free me to do what I love most: focus on the quality and expansion of our inclusive theater approach. Moving forward, I will be able to devote my energy into shaping our programs, examining the replicability of ArtStream’s Inclusive Company model, and helping ArtStream’s artists to develop further their talents as actors, writers, directors, and teachers. To make this possible, I will not be directing Arlington Company B next year—but, I will be very involved with all of the companies. So, you will see me around…a lot!
ArtStream has a great mission and I know we will become an even stronger voice for inspiring others to Perform THEIR Art Out!
I am thrilled with these new developments and I hope you will be, too! I wanted to be the first to tell you. We will continue to keep you all updated on any upcoming changes and exciting news. We welcome all feedback, so please feel free to contact me.