On Monday, May 20, 2019, members of the Upstream Arts community celebrated voice and choice at our annual event, The Art of We: Can Dance If We Want To at Bauhaus Brew Labs. 

As this is our self-declared Year of Voice and Choice, we celebrated all of the ways we practice making choices, and the work we are all doing to ensure that every person can lead their most self-determined life. With a carnival of options, attendees immersed themselves in Upstream Arts activities, games, and prize-winning opportunities. We’re thrilled to report that, as a community, you contributed over $45,393 at and surrounding the event! This incredible commitment ensures that we can say YES to five additional Upstream Arts residencies in communities that have been waiting for us, bringing innovative and foundational ways of practicing expression and choice to over 400 individuals each week. (Scroll down to see a list of names of our incredible community of supporters.) THANK YOU! And, because our supporters know there are many more classrooms waiting, you haven’t stopped; we’re halfway to saying YES to a sixth classroom!

For this year’s event, the colorful taproom and outdoor patio of Bauhaus Brew Labs transformed into an art-filled carnival. Attendees could choose to visit various art and game stations, or to relax, observe and socialize while enjoying complimentary food from Gastrotruck or a delicious beer from the cash bar.

Included in the program was a Social Skills Safari card, a scavenger hunt which included activities and trivia found in the room. Anyone who completed their free Social Skills Safari could choose to submit their card in a drawing for one of four exciting prize packages: Brunch in the Cities, Yoga in the Cities, Summer of Fire Arts, or Vikings Fan Package.

During the reception, party-goers could visit the Collaborative Poetry station, where Teaching Artists offered prompts and wove the responses into a collection of poems written by everyone.

Attendees could also visit the Paint-the-Music station, where they listened to a song and chose a paint color based on how it made them feel. After moving to the music, they then painted their move on a shared canvas. The resulting collaborative paintings are a explosion of beautiful collaborative expression. 

In the stage area of the patio, Teaching Artist led a Drop-In Class. Anyone could join in as the class sequenced through movement, conversations, and rhythms.

At the Emotion Prize Wall, party-goers were guaranteed to win a prize! For $15, they could choose from a wall of envelopes containing restaurant gift cards, museum passes, theater tickets, and other activities (each valued from $20-$175). The trick was to use a classic Upstream Arts introduction, describing how they were feeling with a weather and emotion.  

At 7:30pm Principal Teaching Artists Jess Finney and Ryan Hoag kicked off the presentation portion of the evening. Co-founders Julie and Matt Guidry shared a story about their son, Caleb, and the importance of listening as we continually practice making more space for voice and choice.

Next Cory Duray and Nicole Quall, of Partnership Resources, Inc., spoke on how The Art of Voice and Choice program has impacted each of them.

Auctioneer Stacey McCurnin, of Fladeboe Advancement, then led a Fund-A-Need, asking attendees to pledge financial support to the creative work of activating and amplifying the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities, with the goal of raising enough funds to bring 5 or 6 additional classes on board this year. We were particularly excited to have two $10,000 matches, one from the Mary Ann Lippay and Stephen Kanee Family Fund, and the other a generous anonymous donor, both of which we fulfilled!

Finally, McCurnin facilitated a game of Heads or Tails amongst those who had bought buttons earlier in the night. The last ten people in the game received signed copies of Not So Different, by Shane Burcaw, and final winner received the Summer in the Cities package, full of activities and restaurant gift cards for a fabulous summer of fun. 

THANK YOU to our incredible supporters who have made contributions at and surrounding the event:

Steve Anderson; Michael Anderson and Katie Peacock; Nancy B; Bryan Boyce in honor of Jay Boyce; Jane and John Cacich; Allan and Susan Carneol; Jenna Childs and Dan Johnson; Steve A. Clobes; Richard Patrick Connelly; Jeff Cords and Amy Scheller; Shauna Cropsey and Josh Dean; Beth Derenne; Cory Duray; Jessica Finney; Abbey Frawley; Charlie Frawley; Rich and Phyllis Genest-Stein; Vicki Gerrits; Mary Beth and Steve Groff; Sarah Gruidl; Julie and Matt Guidry; Susan Haas and Michael Sommers; Bridget Harrington and Graham Smith; Cindy Hoag; Ryan Hoag; Lauren Hughes and Tamara Smith; Anne Hunter and Scott Taylor; Rachel Jendrzejewski and Theo Goodell; Anton Jones and Kelly Fallows Jones; Susan Kane; Byron Karns; Amy and Daniel Kenzie; Alyssa Klein; Carlos Lamboglia; Joshua Lemon and Lori Sandoval; Shirley Lerner; Joel Liestman; Katherine Lipe and Gloria Zaiger; Omal Maitra; Alicia Marchioni; Chris Martin; Ann L. Mavis; Stacey McCurnin; Michael A. Miller; Tabitha Montgomery; Moe Norton-Westbrook; Jillian Paul; Gretchen Pick; Elisabeth Pletcher; Maggie Quinlan and Robert Frawley; James R. and Lucy M. Radatz; Dan Reed; Patty Richardson; Bryce and Emily Richter in honor of Ryan, Dylan, Tracey, and all for coming to Fridley High School!; Heather Ringel; Fiona Robinson and Sean Scanlon; Maureen Rosacker; Amber Schwingle Zrust; Reid and Ann Shaw; Alan and Jan Sickbert; Drew Sieplinga and Alec Shaw; Bree Sieplinga and David Luke; Alison Sipkins; Nancy Sonntag; Edward Sootsman and Scott Appelwick; James and Linda Stein; Josh and Heather Stein; Peter Vitale and Stephen Nelson; Michael and Martha Wilson; Jennifer Zarth; Chubb – Corporate Matching; U.S Bank Matching; and 4 anonymous donors.

THANK YOU to our amazing premier sponsorsThe Graham Smith Team of Keller Williams Realty; Lifeworks Services; MSS; and Youth Frontiers; as well as the rest of our phenomenal sponsors whose generosity allows us to hold this celebration at zero cost to our community: Yess Yoga; Ergodyne Tenacious Work Gear; Pharos Employee Benefits; Merrick, Inc.; Highland Friendship Club; Partnership Resources Inc.; Two Bettys Green Cleaning; Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers; Jason W. Bucklin Photography; Wallace Carlson Printing; and The Wedge Community Co-Op / Twin Cities Co-Op Partners.

THANK YOU to our wonderful in-kind donors, whose generosity populated our Emotion Prize Wall, our Heads or Tails game, and the Safari Social Skills prizes!

THANK YOU to our Spring Event Interns Haley Lerner and Greg Parks, registration master Victoria Pyan, 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!!

All photos by Jason W. Bucklin Photography.

If you have not yet made a Spring 2019 investment in Upstream Arts and would like to do so, click here to make a secure online gift or call our office at (612) 331-4584