Matt Guidry modeling our campaign t-shirt

Upstream Arts Artistic Director Matt Guidry sporting our campaign T-shirt


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 #7: We Made a T-Shirt That You Might Want

In May 2014, we launched our disability is not a four-letter word campaign to generate artistic reflection and public conversation about stigma associated with disability. 18 months later, we’re finding this campaign remains as relevant as ever, so the dialogue continues!

As a hybrid organization working at the intersection of the arts, disability, and learning, we have observed that many people feel uncomfortable with this word, “disability.” In response, we want to crack open the language. We want to explore, unpack, and advance what disability might mean to the widest range of people—from individuals living with disabilities to those who feel they have no connection to disability.

We are having this conversation through our multidisciplinary arts programs, at our community events, on our blog, in our newsletters, and via social media (look for the hashtag #movingupstream). We are exploring the nuances of identity, language, and expression, using an artistic lens to reflect on and create new perceptions of disability in the arts and in our communities.

We want to make this conversation an everyday conversation. We believe disability is relevant to everyone, whether or not one identifies as being part of the disability community. We are having this conversation through art, because art is a vehicle to expansive dialogue and growth; and we believe art is relevant to everyone, whether or not one identifies as being part of the arts community.

We invite YOU to join us in the work—and the play!—of exploring, unpacking, and demystifying this potent word, “disability.” Come be in dialogue with us at our programs and events. Subscribe to our e-newsletter. Email us back or call us with your thoughts and ideas. Check out our ever growing list of articles, videos, and online resources. Interact with us on this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Make and share your own creative responses in the medium of your choosing. Join us in advancing the conversation through art.

Oh yeah, and (as you can see in the photo above) we really did make a T-shirt. They’re not available for online ordering; but if you’d like to purchase one, simply email our Program and Administrative Assistant Chris Garza ([email protected]) and he’ll be happy to hook you up!

disability is not a four letter word.
p.s. it’s a ten letter word.

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!