STEM plus Arts = Learning Full STEAM ahead!

by Story Tapestries Inc.


What a week! Story Tapestries just submitted two major grant proposals that, if awarded, will help us take significant strides toward our Virtual Classroom – a brand new website that offers curated arts-integrated lessons and activities for educators, parents and concerned adults. This initiative will support learning in all subject areas, but it is especially useful for STEAM learning.



Story Tapestries is an advocate and a collaborator for building a blueprint for success through our network of artists, educators, families, organizations, businesses, presenters and community leaders.  The core principle of what we engage in is Arts Integration which means that we use the arts as a tool to teach with, learn from and develop the community.  We recognize that the keystone in the bridge that we are often building is the arts, but we need to incorporate other pieces of the puzzle (curricula, conflict resolution, financial literacy, community service, etc) to truly create change.   We want our website to be a community resource center – a place for people and organizations to collaborate and connect with a variety of diverse resources.  

The grants we just applied for will help us start building the foundation of our Virtual Classroom, which is our new website.  To take this first step, Story Tapestries decided to partner with a local marketing firm in Maryland, Marstudio, to help us build and design our new framework.  The initial design and building phase for our new website is being tackled from January to June 2017. Then, in July/August 2017 we will be ready to take the next steps toward the Virtual Classroom itself.  Although now that feels like all the time in the world, we know it will be summer before we know it!

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Marstudio is an award-winning and experienced Strategic Branding & Creative Marketing Firm located in Rockville, MD, and they conduct business locally (Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia), nationwide and internationally.  After researching many options throughout the DC metro region, we realized their commitment to local non-profits while bringing a national and international perspective was exactly the fit we were looking for. We’re excited to be able to partner with a local company to undertake this project.

Although our Virtual Classroom can be used as a tool for teaching all curriculum areas, its benefits for STEAM are particularly exciting.   It will encourage familiarity with crucial modern technologies such as computers and tablets, providing opportunities for children in remote or underserved areas to build computer and internet skills while engaging with the arts.

Thank you for supporting Story Tapestries and making it possible for us to take this exciting next step for STEM plus Arts = Learning Full STEAM Ahead!



With only 1 day left in 2016, we're taking a few moments away from our end-of-year campaign to reflect on what we've accomplished over the last year and get ready for the year to come.  We just hit 81% of our goal!!! This means we still have 19% left to go, or about $3,500.  As we reflect, we are reminded that reaching our goal means empowering Story Tapestries to reach over 1,300 more community members with custom-designed arts-integrated programs, and many of those programs will directly support STEAM learning in our schools.


We've had some wonderful successes, and we've also had some wonderful "teaching moments," and both of those types of experiences are valuable!  One recent success was a residency led by our Executive Director, Arianna Ross, in partnership with teacher Mary McGinn and other educators at Stedwick Elementary.  Arianna kicked off the program with an assembly for the entire school, and then she worked with the individual third-grade classes over the course of five days using theatre, writing, movement, and visual art strategies to help students define elements within a story.  Arianna and the teachers at Stedwick Elementary worked in true partnership to co-plan and co-teach in order to identify and best meet the needs of the students.


During the residency, it became clear that the students would be able to shape the lesson, and the teaching artist and instructors were able to act as a guiding force.  Additionally, the teachers expressed that the process was successful in helping them feel valued through the successes of the students, making it clear that their efforts to integrate arts into their lessons were successful and meaningful.


Although this residency did not specifically focus on STEM subjects, it is a good example of how successful arts techniques can be when integrated into any curriculum, including STEM.   By the end of the residency, the students had integrated all of the different curriculum standards into the creation of a devised opera that they will work on for the duration of the school year.  At the end of the year, they will have the opportunity to perform their opera at The Kennedy Center, where it will be live-streamed to students in Spain! It was a true privilege for Story Tapestries to play a role in this project that starts with an individual school but will eventually cross national and continental boundaries to create a truly global connection. 

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Thank you so much for your support! Please continue to advocate for us by sending this report to friends and family that would love to be part of this project too.



No matter the weather outside, it’s been sunshine inside the Story Tapestries office thanks to great steps forward over this past week! We’ve had a special big donor commit $10,000 to supporting Story Tapestries. In addition to gifts from several community members, we’ve now reached 73% of our year-end campaign goal. We’re so pleased! And it gets better – this donor has pledged that if we reach our goal, they’ll give an additional $2,000 BONUS! Reaching our goal means empowering Story Tapestries to reach over 1,300 more community members with custom-designed arts-integrated programs. $0.85 of every $1.00 goes directly to support programs, and many of these programs are focused on our STEAM initiative.  

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For many members of the Story Tapestries family, the month of December is a mad dash to get ready for the Holidays. For others, it represents a time to reflect on the year and spend time with family.   As we approach the end of 2016, we’re taking a moment to look back on everything we’ve accomplished over the last year.   

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We do a lot with a little – even the smallest contribution can have an exponential impact when it comes to these children’s lives and those of the communities they live in.  Thank you to everyone in the Story Tapestries family whose generosity makes our STEAM programs possible for years to come. 

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Thank you!
Thank you!

We're so grateful for all the community members that have demonstrated their support and were part of the GivingTuesday movement. This year the movement grew to include 98 participating countries and generated $168million in donations globally. For Story Tapestries, nearly 15% of our overall fundraising goal was reached on that day alone - WOW! Bringing us to 20% of our overall goal in total. We still have a ways to go to reach our year-end goal of $20,000 - ultimately empowering us to reach over 1,300 more community members with custom-designed arts-integrated programs.

Story Tapestries brings communities together and empowers kids - especially those who struggle the most. We know the power of the arts to unite communities, revitalize our schools, provide safe spaces for dialogue and healing, raise awareness of social issues, and be a gateway of learning about new cultures. Our children need this guidance RIGHT NOW!

Program participants experience lightbulb moments of connection, and consistently. Their energy, spirit, and new-found enthusiasm are contagious and make us eager to reach more communities, helping them discover the magic of their own creations and imaginations! In 2016 alone we’ve reached over 110,000 people who are grateful and want to say thank you!

Also, on Tuesday 12/6, Story Tapestries friend Carrie Sue Ayvar returned with a special bilingual tale for our weekly Facebook Live video series, Tuesdays with StoryTapestries.  This week, Carrie Sue shared a tale - with harmonica! about Goldilocks and the Jazzy 3 Bears, in which Goldilocks learned a lesson about trouble.  Check out her video on our Facebook page here.

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our guest blog post by Mandela Harmon HERE, in which she shares about what children's books can teach us about the value of art, acceptance, kindness and the meaning of family. She's been a children's book specialist for 15 years and offers insight about four books that have something extra special to offer their readers. Check out what she has to say!

We're working hard to keep the momentum going! Please consider letting your friends and family know about this unique opportunity to give the most powerful gift of the ARTS!

Thank you for your continued support of Story Tapestries!


Learning shapes!
Learning shapes!

The special day has ARRIVED!

Story Tapestries has steadily been able to increase the number of people we serve annually by 10%, and in 2017 our goal is to reach 15% more - that would mean connecting with 126,500 people with powerful arts-based tools. To do this, we aim to raise $5,000 for STEAM programs before December 31. With special incentives and grants that will help match donations NOW - #GivingTuesday - this presents an incredible opportunity!

Have the arts touched your life? In today's world of technological innovation, US high school students are far behind our international counterparts at number 27 for mathematics and 20 for science. In 2013, only 35% of eighth grade students performed at or above the proficient level in mathematics, and only 32% in science. The arts are especially effective in reaching every type of learner at any age and are an amazing curricula connection that build excitement and understanding.

For further inspiration, check this out: Guest blogger, Mandela Harmon, shares HERE about what children's books can teach us about the value of art, acceptance, kindness and the meaning of family. She's been a children's book specialist for 15 years and offers insight about four books that have something extra special to offer their readers. Check out what she has to say!

Tomorrow, as part of #GivingTuesday, our Executive Director, Arianna Ross, will share a special moment in a Facebook LIVE video. Tune in HERE at 7pm EST to hear what she has to share!

If you believe in the work of Story Tapestries, we ask that you help us reach more community members in 2017. To do so, consider being part of the growing social movement - #GivingTuesday. Share, Tweet, Post on Facebook! After Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, millions of people will join forces to give back to their communities on #GivingTuesday. GlobalGiving has garnered the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - they will be matching donations at 50% on November 29th for up to $1 million in donations! This means $10 will mean $15 towards Story Tapestries programs if you give today - that's a pretty awesome incentive! Matching starts at 12:00am EST and goes until 11:59pm EST or until funds run out; and they usually run out before 11am EST! 

Please consider giving again on this important occasion and letting your friends and family know about this unique opportunity to give the most powerful gift of the ARTS!

Thank you for your continued support of Story Tapestries!



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Organization Information

Story Tapestries Inc.

Location: Germantown, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Arianna Ross
Germantown, MD United States
$5,616 raised of $10,000 goal
117 donations
$4,384 to go
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