Upstream Arts participant and teaching artist

​Movement activity in an Upstream Arts School Program (photo: Theo Goodell)

As many of you know, here at Upstream Arts, we’re celebrating our 10th Anniversary as a nonprofit working at the intersection of the arts, disability, and learning! In the 10 days leading up to Give to the Max Day (November 12), we’re sharing 10 fun facts about our work and our history – which double as 10 great reasons to Give to the Max, toward our big anniversary goal of $100,000 by June 30. Enjoy!

#3: We Work Across Sectors

As we mentioned yesterday, in our first year of operations, we served 97 individuals. This year, we expect to serve more than 2800 individuals – in large thanks to our collaboration with 80+ partners throughout the Twin Cities metro area and beyond!

Early on in our organizational development, we recognized that, in large part, the arts are missing from the places where individuals with disabilities are being educated and receiving services at different stages of their lives. In response, Upstream Arts partners across sectors to bring the arts and professional artists to the schools, day rehabilitation programs, community centers, and other places where people with disabilities are already learning, working, and socializing.

Many people know Upstream Arts for our school programs. Indeed, we have an in-depth partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), where we run 30+ residencies a year in Pre-K-12 Special Education classrooms and Transition Programs across the district, serving students at all grades levels and across all disability types. Because of the breadth of our work in the district, we are proud to have advanced the use of arts-infused strategies for teachers, connected the Art and Special Education Departments, and demonstrated the impact of the arts on social/emotional learning and academic skills. In addition to MPS, we work in other school districts across the metro and beyond, including St. Paul Public Schools and the Anoka-Hennepin School District.


Upstream Arts photo exhibition created by adult participants

Art exhibit created by Upstream Arts adult participants (photo: David Luke)


Alongside our robust school programs, we also provide many arts residencies for adults 21+ in partnership with Adult Day Programs, facilities where adults with disabilities ages 21+ receive training in daily living, pre-vocational, and social/recreational skills; and we partner with community organizations such as Parks and Recreation, libraries, camps, and friendship clubs to make our work accessible to a wider public base of all ages. We also produce exhibits, performances, and community events to capture and convey the spirit of our residency programs, and to meaningfully connect the disability, arts, learning, and broader communities.

Visit the School ProgramsAdult ProgramsCommunity Programs, and Training Programs sections of our websites to see lists of our current and recent partners in each area – and always feel free to contact us if you’re interested in exploring a new collaboration.

Move upstream with Upstream Arts by making a special 10th Anniversary gift on Give to the Max Day! We’re looking for commitments from 10 supporters every day between now and November 12, with the goal of having 100 Give to the Max supporters giving $10 or more and moving us closer to our $100,000 anniversary stretch goal. Can you be 1 of 10 today? It takes only a few minutes to schedule a gift right now at Thanks so much in advance for your belief and support!