On May 11, 2015, the Upstream Arts community gathered for The Art of We, Upstream Arts’ 2nd Annual Meeting and Fundraiser, at Bloomington Center for the Arts.
We’re thrilled to share that, as a community, you invested more than $34,000 to bring high-quality arts programming to individuals with disabilities at every stage of life. And the gifts keep rolling in! THANK YOU.
The Art of We was part exhibit, part performance, part fundraiser, and wholly party. The evening began with a reception where guests explored portrait photography created by Upstream Arts participants from Opportunity Partners and guest artist Jeff Cords; enjoyed delicious food and drink by Michelle Montoya Jensen with support from Victor’s on Water, Fabulous Catering, Franklin Street Bakery, and Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop; and created 10-word stories about Upstream Arts – some of which were creatively interpreted by Upstream Arts Teaching Artists! The reception was extra festive thanks to balloons from the Corner Balloon Shoppe.
At 7pm, the evening’s program kicked off in the Schneider Theater with a powerhouse performance by the same Upstream Arts participants from Opportunity Partners that had created the photo exhibit, generously sponsored by Uptown Natural Care Center. Following the standing ovation, Upstream Arts co-founders Julie and Matt Guidry told the origin story of Upstream Arts, shared some of the past year’s successes, and offered a peek into our plans for our upcoming 10th Anniversary, which begins July 1. They then presented our goal of raising $25,000 that evening.
We kicked off the fundraising portion of the evening with three exciting live auction items: a sea kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands with Wilderness Inquiry, a homemade gourmet Italian dinner for six hosted by Joe and Janet Green (Julie Guidry’s parents) at the Guidry home; and a Minnesota Twins Suite Package contributed by Melinda Jacobs and Irwin Jacobs. The auction was hilariously and skillfully led by Glen Fladeboe of Fladeboe Auctions.
Following the auction, Upstream Arts participant Henry Brown (star of our 2014 Annual Report) shared a poem that he had created in collaboration with Upstream Arts about his work with us over the past nine years. Then auctioneer Glen Fladeboe led a final giving moment. Including support from a generous Pohlad Challenge Grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation, our community generously gave over $34,000 that night – far above and beyond our original goal!
After the program, everyone returned to the lobby to enjoy more time with the exhibit, ice cream and balloon animals from the Leprechaun’s Dreamcycle, and live music by David K. Some of our Teaching Artists wound up singing with the band, and Henry Brown even got some dancing started!
To our incredible event coordinator Bridget Harrington, the Upstream Arts Board of Directors, our Teaching Artists, volunteers, sponsors, partners, supporters, and ALL who came out or joined in spirit – we are grateful beyond words for your belief and support. THANK YOU for all that you do! We hope you’ll join us again in May 2016 for our 3rd Annual Meeting and Fundraiser, celebrating 10 Years of work at the intersection of the arts, disability, and learning!