Chevy Chase Village Life Magazine “Making a Difference”

ArtStream is thrilled to announce we were featured in Chevy Chase Village Life Magazine! Below is an excerpt from our interview with writer Michael Marsh:

How does your organization reach the community?

ArtStream offers performing arts classes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), including Autism. Classes are accessible, empowering, and engaging. Participants learn performing arts and social skills through inclusive participation. All ArtStreamers are valued for their creative contributions. At ArtStream, we work together, learn from each other, and “perform our art out.”

After participating in an ArtStream class or performing company, students perceive themselves as markedly improving in their performance and communication abilities, making new friends, trying new things, and being comfortable working in a group.

ArtStream regularly offers several different kinds of workshops. For example, in our Super Social Saturday workshops, we focus on a specific theme to create a welcoming environment for our participants to learn socializing skills, let loose, and have fun. In Positively Speaking workshops, participants become self-advocates and improve their public speaking ability.

We also have a sibling group — a space created for relative of ArtStreamers to share their experiences and support each other. The sibling group meets monthly. Since it moved online, siblings of ArtStreamers convene and connect from all around the country. Writes one sibling: “ArtStream is an incredible organization and brings my brother so much joy. I’m so grateful to you and the whole team for giving him this opportunity to do something he enjoys so much!”

How has the Corona Virus affected your modus operandi, and how are you improvising?

We are facing an unprecedented time. During the pandemic, arts organizations faced the stark reality that their primary method of delivering on their mission had to be suspended. We at ArtStream continued delivering on our mission by securing new funding and pivoting to online classes and performances. ArtStream’s programs provide the stimulations, socialization, support, and quality of life our participants urgently need to build independence and resiliency — now more than ever. Research shows higher risks associated with COVID-19 infection for people with Down Syndrome. But there is also the impact of the “loneliness pandemic” that accompanies the health pandemic. When the lockdown occurred, people with IDDs had their lives turned upside down. Many were locked into a group home or nursing home, unable to see family and friends. Many are still missing the structure of employment and volunteer work that disappeared instantly. The joy and relief are obvious from the minute students enter ArtStream’s virtual classroom.

To read the full article, click here.