As we adapt and innovate to stay connected, Artistic Director Matt Guidry shares some of Upstream Arts’ best practices so that those who are sheltering at home, out of school, or isolated from usual activities can practice creativity and social connection. Welcome to In Small Moments, where Matt offers tools and tips for practicing Upstream Arts activities on your own and with your loved ones at home.  

Find some comfort. It’s there.  

In every class we run, every training we facilitate, every staff meeting we have, we like to do what we simply call Intros. At the beginning, we go around the circle and everyone is invited to share – 

Hi, my name is… and today I’m feeling…  

That feeling might be expressed with an emotion and a movement, which everyone in the circle then copies/mirrors/repeats. Each time we come together over a 12-day class residency we find a new way to share our feelings for the day. We might associate our feeling with a color, or a type of weather –

I’m feeling stormy.  

I’m feeling blue like a gentle lapping wave. 

It’s an invitation to share, to self-express. Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re feeling until someone asks. We don’t often contemplate exactly how we’re feeling. Are you feeling curved or crooked today?  Well, I hadn’t thought about that, but actually I’m feeling kind of crooked. Those identifiers hold a lot of meaning. Being given an opportunity to describe your feelings in an abstract way can be liberating. And it’s more intuitive than people think.  If I ask you, What feeling is blue? It’s not that hard to come up with an answer. It surprises people, because we’re rarely asked to think that way. 

For Upstream Arts, Intros is an opportunity to stop and think about ourselves for just a moment.  And because everyone mirrors what you share, there is a real, tangible feeling of being acknowledged and valued for what you bring to the space. 

Sometimes the second part of the Intros statement is an invitation to share something else about  ourselves. Something a little deeper.

I would like to end today by completing today’s Intro. Take a moment to answer for yourself. And act upon your answer. You might just get a moment of respite.  

Hi, my name is Matt, and one way that I find comfort is – 

Music. Over the last few weeks I’ve been finding comfort in the past. Listening to my favorite throwback music from the 80’s. Not only that, I’m listening  to whole albums start to finish. I’m not sure the last time I did that. I relish in the availability of music in these days, and mostly listen to music on shuffle, where variety abounds. But listening to familiar albums in their entirety, listening to the songs in order, tells a story that grounds me in who I was and who I am. 

Examining ourselves, finding ways to discover and name who it is that we are and what we need and want, is an important social skill. And it’s something we practice in our classes every day. 

The work of Upstream Arts is about how we connect with each other. But it’s also about how we connect with ourselves. We need to understand ourselves, our strengths, our fractures, to best move forward. 

Please join us via our studio ACCESS videos and live stream classes to continue to connect and practice. I hope to see you there.


Warm hands,