A paper flower with the question "What's Your Story" in the center

A flower from our story gardens at the 2018 annual celebration and fundraiser. Photo by Jason Bucklin.

This year, the Upstream Arts community gathered on Thursday, May 17, 2018 for The Art of We: Are More Than One Story, our annual celebration and fundraiser at The Science Museum of Minnesota.

Following the theme of The Year of Our Stories, we celebrated the myriad ways of telling stories as well as the many stories that make up each individual. We are honored to report that, as a community, you contributed more than $44,000 at and surrounding the event! This investment moves us forward in another year of bringing art and creativity to reset mindsets about ability and disability. (Scroll down to see a list of names of our wonderful community of supporters.) THANK YOU!

The Art of We: Are More Than One Story began with a reception on the sixth floor of the Science Museum, overlooking the Mississippi River. While enjoying hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, guests could add their responses to the “Story Gardens” sprouting from tables. These colorful flowers asked “What Is Your Story?” and offered prompts from Upstream Arts curriculum for guests to complete. Teaching Artists also performed a sampling of songs from past Art of Me performances, and guests could peruse the live auction items, take in an exhibit of paintings, or watch video excerpts from The Art of (e)Motion performances.

Teaching Artists singing and ASL interpreting.

Teaching Artists sing and ASL interpret songs from past Art of Me performances. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


An exhibit of collaborative paintings made in Upstream Arts classrooms. Photo by Rachel Robison.


Guests at The Art of We writing answers to the prompts on the Story Garden flowers

Guests adding their responses to the Story Gardens. Photo by Rachel Robison.


Three children waving their flags with responses from the Story Garden.

Young attendees brandish their story flags. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


A paper flag reading "What animal is Upstream Arts to you?" with a picture of a spider and the words "A connector!"

Upstream Arts learns one of its animal avatars. Photo by Rachel Robison.

Next, Board Chair Maggie Quinlan opened the night’s program and Executive Director Julie Guidry acted as master of ceremonies, introducing the storytellers.

First Dupree Edwards, an Upstream Arts participant and our newest employee, shared the a powerful story about meeting his father for the first time. Developed as part of a storytelling workshop that Upstream Arts presented in collaboration with The Moth, Dupree’s story not only gave us a glimpse into the multifaceted history that makes up who he is, but also illuminated the power of acknowledgement.

Next, Ani, a student who worked with us in The Art of e(Motion), performed an excerpt from that show, a poem and painting expressing her experience immigrating to the United States with breathtaking clarity and beauty.

Finally, Artistic Director and co-founder Matt Guidry told a tale (also developed as part of The Moth Community Workshop). His masterful description of a pivotal shift in his life and the birth of his son, Caleb, gave a new perspective to the origins of Upstream Arts.

Executive Director Julie Guidry

Executive Director Julie Guidry introduces the program. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


Dupree Edwards, in a red shirt with a mic, tells a story.

Dupree Edwards, Upstream Arts participant and new employee, captures the audience’s attention with his story. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


As part of the performance of her poem, Teaching Artists rotate a canvas while Ani paints. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


Audience members, including Teaching Artist Lindsey Samples, enjoy the performances. Photo by Jason Bucklin.

Matt Guidry, Executive Director.

Artistic Director Matt Guidry tells his story. Photo by Jason Bucklin.

Then Stacey McCurnin, of Fladeboe Auctions, moved us into the fundraising portion of the evening. Assisted by board member Tabitha Montgomery, she led us through the four fabulous action items: the Lowertown Lore package, encompassing a night on the town in St. Paul, the Story Within package, featuring a private yoga party and other self-care items, the More Than One Story package, which included books written by individuals with disabilities and other storytelling experiences, and the Share the Stories package, which enabled author visits to two schools by Kevin Kling and Joseph Kuefler. To close out the evening, Ms. McCurnin led us in the “Fund-A-Need” portion of the evening, in which our community generously invested in Upstream Arts’ work to continue to expand high-quality arts programming for individuals with disabilities and to change the exchange between ability and disability.

Stacey McCurnin

Auctioneer Stacey McCurnin, of Fladeboe Auctions, entertained and incited the crowd. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


Tabitha Montgomery

Board member Tabitha Montgomery announces the auction items. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


Auctioneer Stacey McCurnin gathers high-paced bids from the crowd. Photo by Jason Bucklin.


Alyce Kuenzli and Janice Downing standing in the crowd.

Teaching Artist Alyce Kuenzli draws attention to bidder and board member Janice Downing. Photo by Jason Bucklin.

THANK YOU to our incredible community of supporters who have made donations since our last update, many in person at The Art of WeKim Adams and J. Scott Johnson; Steve Anderson; Alan Berks; Karla & Bruce Blackwood; Bryan Boyce; Amy Brockman; Sarah Brown; Santos Bustamante; Jane and John Cacich; Jenna Childs and Dan Johnson; Patricia E. Clarke; Patricia Collins and Dan Cherryhomes; Jeff Cords and Amy Scheller; Rochelle and Regan Cox; Shauna Cropsey; Claire Cummins; Josh Dean; Linda Degidio; Beth Derenne; Michelle Dickerson; John Doan, PE, MPP; Janice and Gerald Downing; Mikayla Durkee; Jean Echternacht; Brian Eck; Jessica Finney; Chris Garza; Justin Getting; Ron Goldstein and Susan Freeberg; Robert Goodfellow; Kathy Graves; Joe and Janet Green, in honor of Caleb Guidry; Beth Grimes; David and Jackie Guidry; Julie and Matt Guidry; Elizabeth Hannan; Kyle Hansen; Bridget Harrington and Graham Smith; Cindy Hoag; Gerald Hoag; Ryan Hoag; Deb Holbrook; Alana Horton; Lauren Hughes and Tamara Smith; Melinda Jacobs; Lori Jacobwith; Rachel Jendrzejewski and Theo Goodell; Julie Johnson; John and Joan Kaminski; MaryAnn Lippay and Stephen Kanee Family Fund; Calvin and Anne Keasling; Gabriel Keller and Emily Sohn; Alyssa Klein; Alyce Kuenzli, Beverly E. Kuenzli, Kary Kuenzli, Kris Kuenzli, Margaret Hebig and Ann L Mavis in honor of Arnie Mavis; Sarah, Jonathon, and Ezra Kusa; Megan Lagas; Theresa Lynn Landry; Justin Lansing; Julia Lawler; Jim and Kris Lefferts; Katherine Lipe and Gloria Zaiger; Alicia Marchioni; Ann Mavis, in honor of Arnie Mavis; Christina Moe; Karen Moe and Robert Sayers; Tabitha Montgomery; Meghan Moore; Marilyn and Kenneth Mounger; Linda and Bill Murphy; Richard Murray; Kristin Nesbitt; Dave and Marnie Peichel; John and Nancy Quinlan; Maggie Quinlan and Robert Frawley; James R and Lucy M Radatz; Dan Reed; Thomas Robinson; Betsy Roder; Bill and Lillian Rovick; Christian and Karen Lee Salter; Lindsey and Andre Samples; Michelle Schutt and Scott Engstrom; Linnea Shaw; Reid and Ann Shaw; Drew Sieplinga and Alec Shaw; Bree Sieplinga and David Luke; Alison Sipkins; Marc Skaug; Lynn Skupeko; Stacey Smida; Nancy Sonntag; Gillian Spence; Becky Timm; Wayne and Kathy Urbaniak; Kate Weiss; Michael and Martha Wilson; Meghan Youngren; Andy and SAlly Zimney; Jenelle Zumbusch; The Graham Smith Team at Keller Williams Realty; Chubb Corporate Matching; U. S. Bank Matching; and 12 anonymous donors.

Guests mingling behind a bright yellow flower in one of the Story Gardens.

A room full of stories. Photo by Jason Bucklin.

THANK YOU to our amazing premier sponsors, The Graham Smith Team at Keller Williams Realty,  CommonSense [email protected], and Ignited Fundraising, and the rest of our phenomenal sponsors whose generosity allows us to hold this celebration at zero cost to our community: Highland Friendship ClubLifeworks ServicesMSSPartnership Resources, Inc.Yess Yoga, and Youth Frontiers. Special thanks to Jason Bucklin, who beautifully documented the evening on behalf of sponsor, Min Enterprises Photography.

THANK YOU to our fabulous in kind donors, whose generosity populated our amazing auction: Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Blythe M. Davis Massage & Shiatsu, Cow Tipping Press, Elisabeth Pletcher/Curvy Yoga Minneapolis, Frostbeard Studio, Hotel 340, Kevin Kling, Kowalski’s Markets, Joseph Kuefler, The Loft Literary Center, The Moth, The Show Gallery, Unrestricted Interest, WA Frost & Company, and Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers.

THANK YOU to our Spring Event Intern, Rachel Robison, registration master Victoria Pyan, “Fund-A-Need” recording expert Rachel Jendrzejewski, and the Upstream Arts Board of Directors, all of whom worked closely with our staff to make this event a success.

And finally, THANK YOU to everyone who joined us at the event. We’re so grateful to have you in our community!!

If you have not yet made a Spring 2017 gift to Upstream Arts and would like to do so, click here to make a secure online gift or call our office at (612) 331-4584Donate Now Button