Painting created collaboratively by Upstream Arts participants in Milwaukee

Painting created by Upstream Arts participants at the Milwaukee JCC


This month, we’re thrilled to be returning to the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee to offer not one but TWO exciting arts-based learning opportunities: The Art of Social Skills and The Art of Access.

Upstream Arts has been partnering with the Milwaukee JCC since 2013 on a quarterly basis, offering one-day and week-long multidisciplinary arts classes for children, youth, and adults with and without disabilities. “Something magical happens each time this group comes to Milwaukee,” notes Jody Margolis, Inclusion Director at the Milwaukee JCC. “We watch kids transform in front of our eyes. Children who will hardly engage, use very little eye contact, and may sit in the back of the room, in one short week will become totally involved in the process. Upstream Arts teaching artists have the tools to connect with children of all abilities in a way that I have never seen before. It is truly unlike any other program we have here in the Milwaukee area.”  Check out this recent interview with Jody Margolis and Tiffany Gardner from the Milwaukee JCC on 94.5 Lakeviews with Libby Collins, talking about our partnership.



The Art of Social Skills uses a fun, interactive arts curriculum to explore vital social/emotional and communication skills essential to success in school, work, and community life. In each session, participants will learn and create alongside some of the most accomplished professional actors, directors, playwrights, musicians, dancers, poets, and visual artists in the region, while learning to express themselves in healthy ways and interact appropriately with others. Upstream Arts’ multidisciplinary approach and use of adaptive arts materials, communication devices, iPads, and visual cues offer multiple ways to join in activities, so that individuals of all abilities can be part of the fun. The Art of Social Skills will be offered Sunday through Thursday, February 22-26, 2015. The Sunday session will take place from 2-3:30pm and is open to participants of all abilities ages 5-21. The Monday through Thursday sessions will take place from 5-6pm and are open to participants of all abilities ages 12-21. Participants may join single sessions or the full week. For more information, including cost and registration details, visit or call Jody Margolis at (414) 967-8206.



The Art of Access is a two-hour interactive training which examines how to “universally design” performances, exhibits, educational programming, and other events for people of all ages and abilities. Led by Upstream Arts Executive Director Julie Guidry, this session is perfect for artists, educators, support staff, curators, and organizations—anyone interested in using an artistic lens to learn best practices and tools in making their work or services accessible to the most diverse of audiences. The Art of Access will take place on February 25, 2015 from 5:30-7:30pm. The registration fee is $25. For more information, including cost and registration details, visit or call Jody Margolis at (414) 967-8206.

We love working with the Milwaukee JCC and can’t wait to experience the art, conversations, and fun that will come out of this month’s sessions. We hope you’re planning to join us!

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Anonymous Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.