Sue Carneol, Upstream Arts Client Liaison (Milwaukee)

Sue Carneol

Over the past year, Upstream Arts has started offering some quarterly programs in partnership with the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee; and due to the community’s overwhelmingly positive response, we’re now building relationships with additional partners, toward increasing our presence there in the future. Sue Carneol, a friend of Upstream Arts who is based in Milwaukee, has played a big role in connecting us with the local community–and recently, she became our official Milwaukee Client Liaison! To introduce her to the wider Upstream Arts network, we asked Sue to share a bit about herself and why she’s been inspired to help bring this work to her city. Enjoy!


How did you first learn about Upstream Arts?

My daughter Haley interned for Upstream Arts in the Spring of 2012. She later became a Teaching Artist. I met Julie and Matt [Upstream Arts Executive and Artistic Directors] that spring when we came into Minneapolis to see Haley perform in one of her shows. I am a speech-language pathologist who has worked with children with all kinds of communication challenges. I was very impressed with Upstream Arts’ approach and practices to help individuals with these issues.

What attracted you to this work and motivated you to get more involved?

Julie invited me to observe Upstream Arts in action last year on one of our trips to the Twin Cities. I watched a group of unmotivated, noncommunicative, and non-social middle schoolers come together and work as a team to create a poem about bravery. As a professional, I saw so many positive things happening at different levels. I knew I wanted to bring Upstream Arts back to the community in which I work, so the kids I have on my caseload could benefit from an Upstream Arts experience.

What has been your experience of Upstream Arts in Milwaukee so far?

Last spring, I introduced Julie and Upstream Arts to Mark Shapiro, Executive Director of the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee. The JCC offers recreational programs for childen and adults with disabilities (S.T.A.R.S and Chaverim programs). It was a match made in heaven. Mark was very excited to have Upstream Arts come and do some “freebies,” which were a huge success. Again I witnessed nonverbal children positively interacting in group activities with big smiles of pride on their faces! As Jody Margolis, the Special Needs Coordinator, stated, “You have to experience the magic of Upstream Arts to appreciate all that it can do!” Plans were quickly made for Upstream Arts to return throughout the next year for weeklong residencies at the JCC.

Julie recently asked if I would be willing to commit professionally as a Client Liaison in Milwaukee, as I have been around a long time and have a variety of connections in the education, developmental, mental health, and recreational domains. In the past few months, I have been working to make connections and establish relationships with some local organizations and programs in the metro Milwaukee area.

Why do you think it’s important for Upstream Arts to have a more comprehensive presence in Milwaukee?

Upstream Arts offers a unique approach to strengthening social communication, team building skills, and positive self esteem for individuals with a variety of challenges, including verbal communication challenges. As a speech-langauge pathologist, I know that one’s communication skills are a key factor in developing self image and esteem. Providing opportunities and teaching individuals how to express themselves in alternative ways through the arts is a gift that I hope to share with as many people as I can in the Milwaukee area.


Click here for more information about Upstream Arts opportunities at the Milwaukee JCC this November.

Sue Carneol is a state licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologist with over 35 years of experience working with children and adolescents with a wide variety of communication disorders. She has worked in medical, school, in-home, and clinic settings. She currently maintains a private practice in the metro Milwaukee area at the North Shore Center, LLC, a multidisciplinary clinic. Sue has always enjoyed working with kids and teens with social communication challenges. While visiting Minneapolis in 2012, she observed first-hand the “magic” that Upstream Arts provided for individuals with special needs. This sparked to her desire to help the organization’s vision to expand services outside of the Twin Cities region. Today Sue serves as the Upstream Arts’ Client Liaison in Milwaukee, working hard to make connections and collaborate with other programs around southeastern Wisconsin. In her “spare time,” Sue enjoys traveling, reading, biking, and learning how to play piano.