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ArtStream, Inc.

Theatre starring people with intellectual disabilities and autism. Actors gain confidence, social skills, friends.

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Performing Arts
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Autism Awareness
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Mission: Through collaborative performance and lifelong learning opportunities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain the skills and confidence to engage with the world.

ArtStream fuels students' imagination, creativity, and focus. We offer over 850 classes and workshops each year for 1,617 participants, six Theatre Companies totaling 90 participants and four Cabaret Companies totaling 30-40 participants, all of whom create and perform original theater works.

People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - including Autism - frequently face isolation or marginalization, and are excluded from activities and spaces where community, friendships, and connections are made. Creative opportunities are even fewer and farther between. In ArtStream’s drama and performing arts classes, workshops, and theatre companies, participants learn skills that apply to all aspects of life, including how to be present, pay attention, listen to instructions, participate in the activities that the class is doing that day, and perhaps most important of all, build friendships.

Performance is transformative for every actor. This is also true for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, including Autism. Whether in classes, workshops, or rehearsals, ArtStreamers play theatrical games that require them to listen, to engage, to communicate, and to collaborate with each other; and improvisational games that teach them how to make eye contact, think on their feet, make connections, synthesize information, and solve problems. ArtStream’s demanding and very entertaining process encourages ArtStreamers to discover their creativity and strengths, and perform with confidence! What’s more, at ArtStream, our participants create their own scenes, dances, and songs for their performances, whereas most other theaters and non-profits serve people with disabilities by enacting or adapting plays or scenes written by professional playwrights. This is the “ArtStream difference.”

A 55-year-old, 15-year ArtStream veteran expressed it better than we could ourselves: “I don’t get nervous on stage because I feel such happiness. I like to perform 24 hours a day! I love this place! ArtStream is making me happy!”

ArtStream’s collaborative programming gives people with interest, talent, drive, and creativity – but few opportunities – a unique chance to build skills they will carry with them throughout their lifetimes. Our retention rate is 90%, attesting to the effectiveness of our organization in carrying out our mission.

Rockville, MD
Small organization
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN 37-1516235

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