Current Community Programs

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and Participants

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and Participants


Upstream Arts regularly offers programs and events open to the public at large. To learn about programs and events as they are happening, please subscribe to our mailing list by entering your email address into the box at the bottom of this page, and/or bookmark this page and check back often. Click here to learn how to bring Upstream Arts to your community organization or project. We also regularly compile other events and opportunities, unaffiliated with Upstream Arts, that we think might interest our community; click here to check them out.  


“The Art of Me: a theatrical experience” at Valley Friendship Club

Who: People of all abilities, ages 14 & up
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-11:30am, July 8-August 14.
Public performance on August 14 at 6:30pm.
Where: Oak-Land Jr. High School, 820 Manning Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042 (map)
Cost: $90 (full 6-week program)

Following the success of The Art of Me: a theatrical experience last year, we are delighted to partner with Valley Friendship Club to offer the program again this summer. The theme this year is “The Roles We Play.” Participants will meet twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for multidisciplinary arts-based activities designed to nurture vital social and communication skills, culminating in a free public performance on August 14. To learn more and register, please email [email protected]


“Upstream Animated” at Northern Spark

Who: Open to the general public
When: June 14-15, 2014, 9:01PM—5:26AM
Where: On the plaza outside the Minneapolis Convention Center (1301 Second Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55403 - click here for directions)
Cost: FREE

Upstream Arts is thrilled to be part of Northern Spark 2014! We’re partnering with interdisciplinary artist David Luke on UPSTREAM ANIMATED, a quartet of unique animated movies inspired by the poetry created in our programs, which will be projected large-scale in the plaza outside the Minneapolis Convention Center. These movies will debut pre-Northern Spark as part of the Arts on Chicago initiative in South Minneapolis. Click here to learn more and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter in the coming months for updates!


Upstream Arts Annual Meeting and Fundraiser

Who: Open to the general public
When: Saturday, May 17, 2014, 5-8pm
Where: Pillsbury House Community Center(3501 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403 – map)
Cost: FREE (click here to RSVP or call 612.331.4584)

Upstream Arts is throwing its first ever Annual Meeting and Fundraiser – and we want you there to celebrate with us! Featuring an overview of our plans for 2014-15; live music by No Reason; UPSTREAM ANIMATED, an interactive animated poetry project by interdisciplinary artist David Luke in collaboration with Upstream Arts, sponsored by Arts on Chicago; a performance by Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and students from Transition Plus; plus food, drinks, and lots of festivity. This gathering is FREE and OPEN to the entire Upstream Arts community. You will have a unique opportunity to learn about our fundraising goals and make a contribution during the event. If you are unable to attend, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to Upstream Arts today.


Sensory Friendly Party at Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers

Who: Open to the general public (especially kids who like things a bit more organized and predictable)
When: Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1-3pm
Where: Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers (2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410)
Cost: FREE! No reservations necessary.

Parties can be lots of fun, but they can also be tough for those of us who have trouble with too much stimulation. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we’re having a special party geared for kids who like things a bit more organized and predictable. We’ll tell you exactly how it’s going to go down, so that you can be prepared to have a great time.

  • Nancy Carlson will read her new book, Armond Goes to a Party: A Book About Asperger’s and Friendship. We’ll have time to chat with Nancy about writing the book with her friend Armond.
  • A sensory friendly, interactive arts program led by Upstream Arts. We’ll do fun activities designed to help us express ourselves in alternative ways.
  • Low key arts and crafts with puzzle pieces from Autism Society of Minnesota
  • Treats!

A portion of the proceeds from sales on April 26 will go to Autism Society of Minnesota and Upstream Arts.  For more information, visit


“Upstream” Photography Exhibit at UMN Institute on Community Integration

Who: Open to the general public
When: Now through June 2014
Where: University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration (102 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 - map)
Cost: FREE

The “Upstream” photography exhibit tour has been extended! We’re now honored to be showing this beautiful series by Dirk Anschütz, featuring unsentimental portraits of adults with disabilities, at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration (ICI). The ICI is a federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), part of a national network of similar programs in major universities and teaching hospitals across the country. Upstream Arts has a long history with the ICI, as we partnered with them to develop and continually work with them to improve the rigorous evaluation tool we use to assess the impact of our programs. The exhibit, part of ICI’s Changing Landscapes Art Initiative, is open to the public free of charge through June 2014. Please contact the ICI with any questions and for building hours.