Attendees posing at the Art of We event

Photo credit for all images: Jason W. Bucklin Photography.

It was a joy to celebrate with our community at The Art of We: Are Still Celebrating on May 21! Whether you trekked through the rain and storms to join us at the Luminary Art Center or were one of the many to connect with us online, we were honored to raise a glass and celebrate with you.

Enjoy these snapshots, videos, and recap of the event.

Social Hour and Scavenger Hunt

During the first hour of the event, attendees socialized, enjoyed hors d’ouevres and drinks, and participated in various Upstream Arts’ arts activities, some of which they could check off on their Social Skills Scavenger Hunt bingo card. Attendees were invited to paint in response to the questions “What is Self-Advocacy to you?” and to visit the Gear Petting Zoo, where they could interact with tools, instruments, and access aids that we use in programs. Some event-goers walked along the curvy blue tape line on the floor, while others had Teaching Artists come to them and read poems from our classes at their tables.  

An attendee displays her Self-Advocacy art.
A Teaching Artist reads a poem from a class to attendees
Executive Director Julie Guidry, Christine Denoman, and MaryAnn Lippay.
An attendee displays his Self-Advocacy art.
Teaching Artists pose at the Gear Petting Zoo
A young attendee walks along the blue tape.
A Teaching Artist socializes with attendees.

Program and Performance

At 7pm we transitioned to the program portion of the evening, and welcomed our online attendees to the Zoom room.

Click here to see the full recorded event, as experienced online.

Upstream Arts Board Treasurer Tabitha Montgomery welcomed the crowd and handed over the microphone to Executive Director Julie Guidry, who shared a few remarks on the small moments of inclusion that we practice daily.

Upstream Arts Board Treasurer Tabitha Montgomery speaks with her fist raised.
Upstream Arts Executive Director Julie Guidry laughs while presenting.

Matt Guidry took the stage next, inviting a cadre of Teaching Artists to join him for an interactive performance. Matt invited audience members to take a risk and join the activities on stage. As Matt narrated, Teaching Artist Uchenna Chidozie began to improvise music at the piano, and audience members were invited to collaborate with him by playing single notes that he wove into the musical composition.  Gradually Teaching Artists introduced more arts activities one by one, including Paint the Music, Mirroring, and Mirror Painting. Audience members rotated into each of the activities on stage, and then two Teaching Artists closed the performance by inviting the entire room and online audience to follow along in a dance movement.

Click here to jump straight to the performance portion of the event video.

Teaching Artist Uchenna Chidozie plays the piano in collaboration with an attendee.
Teaching Artists and attendees mirror each other.
Artistic Director Matt Guidry narrates the performance.
Teaching Artists lead the audience in a dance.

Christine Denoman, a partner educator in one of our Art of Relationships programs, spoke next, highlighting the importance of not only the skills and information her students learn in class with Upstream Arts, but the culture of consent and bodily autonomy that we build together.

Click here to jump straight to the recording of Christine’s testimonial.

Christine Denoman, partner educator, speaks at the event.


Stacey McCurnin, of Fladeboe Advancement

Stacey McCurnin, of Fladeboe Advancement, led us into the Fund-A-Need portion of the evening. We were particularly honored by the generosity of two donors who provided $10,000 matches for the evening! The MaryAnn Lippay and Stephen Kanee Family Fund and and anonymous donor each pledged to match dollar for dollar. We were blown away by the incredible generosity in the room and online, as our Fund-A-Need garnered investments for our Self-Advocacy and Art of Relationships programming. All together, we raised over $47,090 through The Art of We: Are Still Celebrating.

It will take just $3,599 by June 30, 2024 to close the gap and fully fund our programming, including the vital Art of Relationships programming and Self-Advocacy Classes.

If you haven’t had a chance to contribute, or if you feel moved to give again, you can still invest in Upstream Arts’ work.

Donate through GiveMN, PayPal Giving Fund, Venmo (@UpstreamArts) or by mailing a check to:

Upstream Arts
3505 Chicago Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Each dollar makes a huge impact, and each of you make our programming happen with your continued support, participation, and belief in our work.

Together we are still creating, advocating, playing, imagining, and celebrating!