Upstream Arts Participants taking a bow

Upstream Arts participants taking a bow after performing at The Art of We: Upstream Arts 2nd Annual Meeting and Fundraiser, 2014 (photo: David Luke)


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 #9: We Like to Throw Parties

Since our early days, we’ve taken great delight in bringing together our community for family-friendly parties with art at the center. From intimate house gatherings to happy hours at our office to full blown public events, these gatherings allow people from different circles in our community to meet, while (in many cases) raising much needed funds to advance and expand our work. These gatherings ALWAYS include some kind of high-quality art experience, be it creating a collaborative poem with guests or presenting a fully produced professional exhibition or performance starring Upstream Arts program participants.

Over time, we’ve noticed the widespread need for truly accessible arts spaces where individuals with disabilities can share their artistry, be active audiences, and gather as a community. While many theaters, galleries, and other art venues have made important efforts to become ADA-compliant and trends for inclusion are moving in the right direction, there’s still a lot of work to do – not to mention people with disabilities rarely see themselves reflected in artwork and audiences. In response, we’re committed to creating inclusive art spaces in every program that we run and through every event that we host. We know that making a deliberate effort and invitation makes a difference. At the opening of an exhibit that we produced with ArtReach St. Croix and Valley Friendship Club, featuring portraits of individuals with disabilities, one parent of a participant observed, “We never go to regular art openings; but we knew we could come here and be among friends.”


Upstream Arts participant at the Upstream exhibit

​An Upstream Arts participant posing with her portrait at a closing party for our 2013-14 Upstream exhibition.


Coming up in 2016, we have TWO big arts-infused 10th anniversary parties that we want to get on your calendar now:

February 27 & 28, 2016 – VocalPoint Concert at Central Presbyterian Church, St. Paul
VocalPoint is an intense choral experience that challenges people through music to build a better world. VocalPoint donates 100% of all performance-driven donations to a worthy cause – and this year, that cause is Upstream Arts! Come experience the Upstream Arts story through a brand new medium.

May 19, 2016 – Upstream Arts 3rd Annual Meeting and Fundraiser at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
If you think the words “Annual Meeting” and “Fundraiser” sound boring, then you haven’t experienced these events Upstream Arts-style! Come enjoy a 10th Anniversary bash with performances, original artwork, delicious food and drink, plus a unique opportunity to support our work. This gathering is free, family friendly, and open to all.

Details about both of these events will unfold in the coming months here on our website. In the meantime, we hope you’ll save the dates and plan to join us! Come be among friends.

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!