Today is Give to the Max Day, a huge day of charitable giving in Minnesota! All gifts to Upstream Arts made through between now and midnight will be “maximized” as we become eligible for special prizes each hour.


Click here to donate now!


After 10 years at the intersection of arts, disability and learning, Upstream Arts is no longer moving against the current. We are now creating currents of change – through programs that use the arts to develop social and communication skills, through professional development trainings for educators, and through public performances and community events that offer audiences new perspectives.

We are proud to be a part of a larger social movement dedicated to creating more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become protagonists in their own lives. As we expand our vision and move forward into a new decade, we’ve updated our mission and we are thrilled to share it with you!


Upstream Arts uses the power of the creative arts to activate and amplify
the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities.


We all need to hear these critical voices that are often limited or missing in the places where we all live, learn, work and socialize. Through shared creative arts experiences, Upstream Arts believes that we can undermine social stigma and change mindsets about ability and disability. Whether they happen in our programs or at our community performances and events, these experiences carve out time for us to share space, interact, unlearn discomfort, and work together toward authentic inclusion in our communities.

Here is what some of our community members have said this year, after experiencing our programs:


“I get great ideas watching Upstream Arts work with my students. I consider Upstream my ‘teacher training’ time.”
– Special Education Teacher, Minneapolis Public Schools


“I was pushed to think about how the community isn’t structured to support individuals with disabilities. This message came through without shaming, but rather with solutions.”
– Audience member at a public performance in St. Paul


“I learned how to self advocate, to speak for yourself, to fight your own battles and say what is in your heart.”
– Peggy, participant in The Art of Working, a program that uses the arts to build social and communication skills vital to obtaining and maintaining employment


“I’m not a child anymore. I’m a man.”
– Proudly sung by Drake, a young man with Autism in front of an audience of 150+ people from his community during the closing song of a public performance in Milwaukee, WI


Investing in Upstream Arts goes beyond supporting opportunities for expression in the arts for individuals with disabilities. Your investment supports a space, a culture, and a belief that the voice and choice of ALL individuals must be heard and valued.

This coming year, we will carry out programs with over 20 adult disability service providers and 60 Special Education classrooms; we will share our strategies on teacher practice through professional development; and we will produce original performances at Mixed Blood and Park Square Theatres.

To do this, we again have a goal of raising $100,000 by June 30.


Can you make a tax-deductible contribution of $10, $25, $100, $500, or any other amount to bring us closer to this goal right now?


We need you, our community, to help us fulfill our mission, and hope that you will consider investing in our vision of a more connected, inclusive world.

Enormous thanks and happy holidays!

Matt, Julie, and Bree
Upstream Arts Leadership Team


Give to the Max Day is November 17