Upstream Arts uses the power of the creative arts to activate and amplify the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities.
We will change mindsets about ability and disability and promote more connected and engaged communities by increasing intentional opportunities for shared creative experiences.
We Assume Ability: Participation looks different for everyone, but through creativity, flexibility, and choice, all can be included and find success.
Access is an Attitude: Creating physical access with automatic doors and ramps is necessary and vital, but none of that matters if you don’t feel welcome when you enter a space.
Inclusion happens in the ordinary moments: True access can be achieved through a consistent and intentional practice of doing the little things that say “I see you. I hear you. I notice you.”
“Our society values individuals and individual expression. However, many individuals with disabilities are often thought of or categorized under a particular disability, or into the category of special needs. This historical and continued segregation between people with and without disabilities deprives us all opportunities to be in community with each other.
Individuals with disabilities too often face situations in which they are perceived to act, be, appear, and learn differently than what is thought of as correct, normal, or mainstream. This is ableism.
To build inclusive communities we need to generate spaces full of curiosity. We need to use creativity and the arts to share our stories. We need to cultivate a practice of active, radical listening. We need to imagine and believe that every person in our community–including the person who looks, thinks, moves, or communicates differently from us–has friends, experiences, disappointment. That they accomplish goals, can be inspired, get tired, have both vulnerabilities and strengths, and have a rich bevy of stories to tell. We need to look beyond our perceived differences and see the complex persona that is behind the veil of our ascribed identities.”
~ Matt Guidry, Artistic Director