Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and Participant

Upstream Arts Teaching Artist and Participant

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 programming designed to develop social 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 also nurture self-expression, conversation, and group participation.


We bring the arts into other service areas, primarily through collaborative partnerships, based on the following core program initiatives:

School Programs
We partner with school districts to offer programming for students receiving Special Education services, from birth to age 21. We also offer embedded professional development opportunities for teachers, aides, and other staff. Click here for details.

Adult Programs
We partner with Adult Day Programs and other disability service providers to offer programming for adults, including programs focused on helping participants develop skills vital for securing and maintaining employment. Click here for details.

Community Programs
We partner with many different kinds of community organizations, utilizing our arts-based strategies to supplement their services and programs. We also produce performances, exhibitions, and other public events; collaborate on creative placemaking initiatives; and participate in cross-sector dialogues. Click here for details.

Professional Development Trainings
We regularly present at arts-, disability-, and education-focused conferences, as well as offer trainings to schools and local organizations on arts-based teaching methods, accessible arts programming, and strategies for working with mixed ability groups. We also provide professional development opportunities for independent artists, educators, and cross-sector leaders. Click here for details.


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