We’re honored to collaborate with one of our long-time adult day program partners, MSS, on a new campaign to promote a respectful culture of bodily autonomy and work towards sexual violence prevention. MSS is an innovative adult disability service provider that offers day training/habilitation and career services, including arts-based programs, to adults with disabilities at six locations across the metro.

Thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health Sexual Violence Prevention Program, we embarked on a poster campaign with the artists at MSS to spark dialogue and increase awareness around the right to control what does and does not happen to one’s own body. Members of the MSS illustrators project created three beautiful posters addressing the themes “My Body Belongs to Me,” “Your Body Belongs To You,” and “Your Bubble. Your Space. Your Choice.” These themes were chosen through a convening of MSS leadership and Upstream Arts and derive from Upstream Arts’ Art of Relationships residency, which explores sexual health, self-advocacy, and healthy relationships through the arts.

Drawing of a person in a wheelchair surrounded by a pink circle, surrounded by a teal circle.

Individuals with disabilities are experiencing an epidemic of sexual violence, and are seven times more likely to be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. The absence and erosion of bodily autonomy creates greater risk. These posters encourage a culture of consent and aim to deepen the conversation by shining light on the issues, offering shared vocabulary, and reinforcing the values of self-determination, safety, and autonomy that Upstream Arts and MSS share.

In addition to displaying the posters across MSS’ six locations, Upstream Arts will facilitate group conversations at several MSS sites, using the artwork as a starting point. Through artful interventions, we are working towards a culture where each person’s body, voice, and choice is recognized, safe, and respected.