Upstream Arts participants dancing in a session at the VCFSEF National Conference in Las Vegas

Upstream Arts at the VCFSEF National Conference in Las Vegas, 2014


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! 

Fun Fact #6: We Work Locally and Influence Nationally

Over the past 10 years, Upstream Arts has seen exponential demand for our programs, both locally and beyond. This demand has led us to do a lot of strategic planning and thinking about how, and in what directions, we should grow as an organization. For our 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, we newly articulated what has become a core value and goal: stay committed to our local focus, but think and influence nationally. Sort of like the slogan, “Think global, act local.”

What does that mean for us? We know that we want to stay firmly committed to our local work; for every one classroom that we work in, there are 3 or 4 more classrooms in the same school that we could be engaging. There is always more to do right here, and we are thrilled to be (carefully, gradually) expanding our capacity in order to address that need. We’re also offering professional development opportunities for schools, teachers, organizational staff, artists, curators, and producers, among others – and we’ve been thrilled to be invited to bring quarterly programs to our neighbors in Milwaukee at the remarkable Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Yet we also strongly believe that our mission and our work are not only for the self-identified disability community—rather, the arts have the potential to transform how we all connect, learn, teach, work, and engage with each other. We recognize that, as innovators in an emerging field at the intersection of arts, disability and learning, we have the potential to be not only local but also regional and national advocates—advancing new narratives about and possibilities for people with disabilities and the arts.

There is a very limited number of organizations doing this work nationwide. We’re excited to keep digging deep here in the Twin Cities, while sharing our knowledge, learning from others, and collaboratively leveraging the arts to advance inclusion on a wider scale.

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!