Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and Participant

Our Programs

Upstream Arts is the only arts organization in the Twin Cities, and one of only a handful nationally, that is focused specifically on developing social and communication skills through curriculum-based arts programming for people with disabilities at every stage of life. We integrate individuals with cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities into multidisciplinary arts residencies designed to develop social/emotional and communication skills vital to success in school, work and life. In our programs, local professional artists—including actors, musicians, poets, visual artists, and dancers—teach fundamental skills in a variety of art forms through fun activities that nurture self-expression, conversation, and group participation. Participants meet for 1-2 hours weekly over a designated period of time (most often 6, 12, or 18 weeks), usually in a setting where they already receive services.


Residency Focus Areas

A typical Upstream Arts program is an arts residency in one of the following core focus areas. All of our residency focus areas are available for individuals of all abilities, and several are available for all age groups. We work with every partner to customize the structure and length of residencies according to the partner’s unique interests and goals. To explore possibilities, please contact Julie Guidry, Upstream Arts Executive Director, at (612) 331-4584 or [email protected].

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and Participants at Linwood MonroeThe Art of Social Skills

This program fosters vital social/emotional skills through multiple art forms. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and ParticipantThe Art of Working

This program cultivates soft skills essential to employment through multiple artistic disciplines. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and Participants performing The Art of MeThe Art of Me

This program explores self-expression and teamwork by developing a public arts event. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and ParticipantThe Art of Relationships

This program uses multiple art forms to explore sexual health, self-advocacy, and positive relationships. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and ParticipantsThe Art of Access

This training examines how to “universally design” spaces and events for people of all abilities. Learn more here.

The Art of PlayThe Art of Play

This program explores creative play between babies of all abilities and their caregivers. Learn more here.

Who We Serve

Our residencies are designed to provide a lifetime of arts learning experiences for individuals with disabilities, from birth to retirement and beyond. We also regularly offer community programs and trainings open to people of all abilities, including artists, educators, program staff, administrators, producers, and the general public.

Upstream Arts Participant and Teaching ArtistSchool Programs

We partner with school districts to offer programming for students receiving Special Education services, from birth to age 21. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts participants at Opportunity PartnersAdult Programs

We partner with Adult Day Programs and other service providers to offer programming for adults with disabilities ages 21 to 75+. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts participants at Valley Friendship ClubCommunity Programs

We use the arts to support community services; produce performances and exhibitions; and join cross-sector dialogues. Learn more here.

Upstream Arts Teaching ArtistsTraining Programs

We provide professional development opportunities for artists, organizations, educators, and cross-sector leaders. Learn more here.

Curious about bringing Upstream Arts to your school or organization, but having trouble imagining what we would do? Contact us to set up a 1-hour “freebie”! This session – absolutely free of charge – can offer a better understanding of how we work to support individuals with a range of cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities.



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