Art of We detail

The Art of We 2016 program and decor (Photo: David Luke)


On Thursday, May 19, 2016, the Upstream Arts community gathered for The Art of We, Upstream Arts’ 10th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser, at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

We are amazed to share that, as a community, you gave more than $46,800 at and following the event – and the gifts keep pouring in! As we move into our next 10 years of work, you have provided a strong foundation that will allow us to bring high-quality arts learning experiences to more individuals with disabilities at every stage of life – and dream even bigger about what is possible. We are profoundly grateful for your partnership. Together, we are building a more inclusive world where people of all abilities are engaged and connected in all aspects of society.

The Art of We began with a reception where guests could enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks; music by The New Distractions (the members of which include Upstream Arts founding board member Jeff Milligan-Toffler and long-time supporter Amy Finch); a 10 Year Retrospective exhibition of photography and artwork from Upstream Arts programs; a tempting preview of the live auction items; and a roving photo booth, wherein our fabulous intern Larissa Leshovsky and Teaching Artists Tena May Gallivan and Masa Kawahara invited guests to pose for photos based on iPad prompts that we sometimes use in classroom arts activities.


Guests at The Art of We

Guests mingling at The Art of We (photo: David Luke)


Guests at The Art of We

Teaching Artist Pramila Vasudevan and her family enacting “silly” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


The New Distractions

The New Distractions (photo: David Luke)



The 10 Year Retrospective Exhibit (photo: David Luke)


Art of We guests

Teaching Artist Tena May Gallivan (center) leading guests in an interpretation of “purple” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


Roving photo booth

Upstream Arts performer enacting “strong” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


Life raft of beer

A popular live auction item – life raft of beer and root beer (photo: David Luke)


 At 7pm, the evening’s program kicked off with opening remarks from Upstream Arts Board Chair Maggie Quinlan, followed by Upstream Arts co-founders Julie and Matt Guidry sharing some of the past decade’s successes and a preview of our next ten years of work. Then the audience was transported into an Upstream Arts program through a lively song and dance, performed by an all-star team of current and alumni Upstream Arts participants and Teaching Artists – and eventually joined by a mini flash mob of other Upstream Arts staff, artists, and supporters! ASL interpretation was provided by Upstream Arts Teaching Artists Sarah Brown and Phyllis Genest-Stein.


Maggie Quinlan

Upstream Arts Board Chair Maggie Quinlan (photo: David Luke)


Julie and Matt Guidry

Upstream Arts Co-founders Julie and Matt Guidry (photo: David Luke)



We then moved into the fundraising portion of the evening, hilariously and skillfully led by Stacey McCurnin of Fladeboe Auctions, with four exciting live auction items: a life raft of beer and root beer, donated by the Upstream Arts Board of Directors, to help the lucky recipient keep moving Upstream; a homemade gourmet Italian dinner for six hosted by Joe and Janet Green (Upstream Arts Executive Director Julie Guidry’s parents); a year of theater and small bites, donated by an amazing array of local theaters and restaurants; and three baskets of books featuring people with disabilities as protagonists, curated by Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers and donated in the name of the winning bidder to Special Education classrooms at Upstream Arts partner schools. Following the auction, we screened a brand new video about Upstream Arts created by Mary Falowo, Bailey Johnson, and Emmy Sutherland, students in the HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) program “Making Media, Making Change” in partnership with Saint Paul Neighborhood Network. Finally, Ms. McCurnin led a “Fund-A-Need” giving moment, during which our community gave so generously to bring arts residencies to individuals of all ages and abilities in the coming year.


Stacey McCurnin

Our fabulous auctioneer Stacey McCurnin inspiring support (photo: David Luke)



A young Fund-A-Need participant pledging to donate (photo: David Luke)


THANK YOU to our incredible community of supporters who made donations before, during, or following The Art of We: Michael Anderson and Katie Peacock, John Belew, Alan Berks and Leah Cooper, Katie Binning and Matt Berg, Bryan Boyce, Jane and John Cacich, Faye Cantley, Pam Cantley, Patricia Clark, Jeff Cords and Amy Scheller, Sharon Cords, Rosa Costain, Regan Cox, Jeff and Merri Brewer Crain, Shauna Cropsey, Josh Dean, Janice and Gerald Downing, Vladimir Eletsky, Katherine Evans and Ryan Walquist, Jerry and Jennie Finney, Jessica Finney, Adrian and Ann Marie Freeman, Ron Goldstein and Susan Freeberg, Thomas and Marilyn Gales, Deb Girwood, Lorissa Gottschalk and Matt O’Brien, Mary Green, Jean Greenwood, Mary Beth Groff, David and Jackie Guidry, Dorothy Guidry, Marcie Guidry, Jennifer Halcrow, Timaria Hammond Downing, Bridget Harrington and Graham Smith, Lyth and Mary Hartz, Margo Harvey, Pam and Bob Herrick, Cindy Hoag, Deb Holbrook, Ellen and Jim Hubbell, Lauren Hughes and Tamara Smith, Christine Hurney and Timothy Fisher, Anthony Indelicato, Lori Jacobwith, Edward and Carol Johnson, John and Joan Kaminski, Calvin Keasling, Gabriel Keller and Emily Sohn, Alyssa Klein, Sue and Jim Kosmoski, Sarah and Jonathon Kusa, Tom and Mary Gerry Lee, Josh Lemon, Dan and Missy Leslie, Maren Lindner and Cathy Abene, Kym Longhi and Jim Peitzman, Judy Lysne and Alex Patterson, Alicia Marchioni, Ann Mavis, Tabitha Montgomery, Marilyn Mounger, Katie Munster, Linda and Bill Murphy, Katie Piehl and Richard Knowlton, John and Nancy Quinlan, Maggie Quinlan and Robert Frawley, Noël Raymond and Amy Finch, Michael Ritchie and Rebecca Loader, Tony and Kevin Saputo-Swanson, Lori Schluttenhofer, Matt Sciple, Shari Seelig and Richard Schwartz, Cary Sfikas and Victoria Sadler, Reid and Ann Shaw, Katie Sherman and John Strand, Drew Sieplinga and Alec Shaw, Ali Sipkins, Gillian Spence, Padraich K. A. Spence, Brenda and Michael Staloch, Martin and Kate Thomas, Katie and Dusty Thune, Becky Timm, Joseph Timmons and Karen Ballor, Karen Totten, Peter Vitale and Stephen Nelson, Leida Voulgaropoulos, Michael and Martha Wilson, Melanie Wood, Andy and Sally Koering Zimney, plus 11 anonymous supporters.


Art of We roving photo booth

Upstream Arts Teaching Artist Masa Kawahara leading a guest in an interpretation of “strong” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


Guests at The Art of We

Guests interpreting “pink” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


THANK YOU to our sponsors and in-kind donors for so generously subsidizing of The Art of We: Blackbird, Blick Art Materials, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Children’s Theatre Company, The Draft Horse, Beth and Dave Engelsgaard, FedEx Office, W. A. Frost and Company, Chris Garza, The Graham Smith Team at Keller Williams, GYST Fermentation Bar, Joy Hart Neff, Hennepin Theatre Trust, History TheatreHUGE Improv Theater, Ignited Fundraising, Jungle Theater, Ken & Norm’s Liquors, Lifeworks, Midwest Special Services, The Minnesota Vikings, Mixed Blood Theatre, Nighthawks Diner & Bar, Open Eye Figure Theatre, Partnership Resources Inc., Penumbra Theatre, Pillsbury House + Theatre, Elisabeth Pletcher, Old Log Theatre, Sandbox Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Tiny Diner, Upstream Arts Board of Directors, Uptown Natural Care Center, Wedge Community Co-op, Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers, Yess Yoga


Roving photo booth

Former Upstream Arts Board Member Peter Vitale enacting “twisted” for the roving photo booth (photo: Larissa Leshovsky)


Upstream Arts performers

Upstream Arts Teaching Artists and participants performing with The New Distractions (photo: David Luke)


Upstream Arts Leadership Team

Upstream Arts Artistic Director Matt Guidry, Associate Director Bree Sieplinga, and Executive Director Julie Guidry (photo: David Luke)


THANK YOU Upstream Arts intern Larissa Leshovsky, photographer David Luke, and videographer Miranda Harincar for documenting the night (click here and here to see more photos on Facebook). And last but definitely not least, THANK YOU to our remarkable event coordinator Elisabeth Pletcher, the Upstream Arts Board of Directors, our Staff, Teaching Artists, volunteers, and all who made the evening such a profound success. We are grateful beyond words for your belief and support! Thank you for all that you do.


Crowd at Art of We

The Upstream Arts community at The Art of We (photo: David Luke)


If you have not yet made a 10th Anniversary gift to Upstream Arts and would like to do so, click here to make a secure online gift or call our office at (612) 331-4584. Thank you!