THE ART OF ACCESS:

Our Professional Development Offerings

For those who are seeking to authentically invite, engage, and include the disability community in their classrooms, programming, and organizational culture, our professional development opportunities offer a framework for building connections, community, and relationships that move beyond traditional attitudes and ideas about accessibility.

Upstream Arts’ interactive trainings first unpack the ways you are already promoting access and inclusion, then engage your innate creativity to amplify and diversify the ways in which people with disabilities are included and welcomed into your work.

Educators, support staff, program directors, teaching artists, and organizational leaders all emerge from an Upstream Arts training with new engagement strategies, curriculum/programming ideas, and inclusive practices to cultivate inclusion among people of all abilities in classrooms, workplaces, and public events, regardless of sector. Our approach is non-judgmental, interactive, and fun!

    WE BELIEVE THAT ACCESS ISN’T JUST  ABOUT RAMPS AND CAPTIONS –

    ACCESS IS AN ATTITUDE.

    OUR OFFERINGS

    All of Upstream Arts’ Professional Development Training Models can be designed and adapted for:

    • Educators in PreK-12 or Adult Learning: (including Teachers, Aides, Support Staff, and District Leadership)
    • Disability and other Social Service Organizations: (including Direct Support Professionals, Program Directors, & Organizational Leadership)
    • Nonprofit Organizations, Small Businesses, & Corporations
    The Art of Access

    The Art of Access offers tools and best practices for universally designing educational programming, arts events, and community spaces to be more accessible and welcoming for individuals of all ages and abilities. We present a guide for preparing your environment, culture, and curriculum to be the most accessible for the most diverse community. We break down the elements and look closely at them through a lens we call S.M.I.L.E – Sensory, Movement, Identity, Language, Experience. When we are prepared, when we S.M.I.L.E., we can truly begin to develop rich connections and relationships.

    The Art of Engagement

    In The Art of Engagement we look at the practice of authentically engaging our students, colleagues, and clients through a cyclical, three step process: Connect. Converse Collaborate. How do we find that initial spark of a connection? How do we build on that connection through exploration and the development of a shared language? How do we use the common ground that we’ve established to work together and accomplish something? We believe that it’s in the small, everyday, ordinary moments where true inclusion begins. We show you the possibilities of what can happen if you practice your daily interactions with mindful intention, and a little bit of creativity.

    The Art of Voice and Choice

    The Art of Voice and Choice explores the tenets of Person Centered Planning and Informed Choice, inclusive practices designed to place individuals with disabilities in control of their own choices and ensuring they are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. To achieve authentic inclusion in all aspects of community life, ALL community members need to understand these practices, and how best to support the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities. Participants in The Art of Voice and Choice trainings gain a better understanding of the value and necessity of choice, a reminder of the ways in which we sometimes limit choice and control when providing long-term support to people with disabilities, and inspiration for how to better support person-centered choice and control. 

    This training is designed for people who receive disability services and the people who support them: direct support professionals, parents, caregivers, guardians, residential providers, employers, and community members.

    OUR IMPACT:

    Since 2006, Upstream Arts has been developing and facilitating a creative practice for empowering individuals with disabilities at every stage of life. We create settings and shared experiences for the greater community to see, hear, and listen to the stories and contributions of the disability community—undermining stigma, promoting a culture of awareness, and building connections across communities. Co-Founders Julie and Matt Guidry regularly present at arts-, disability-, and education-focused conferences, as well as schools and local organizations, engaging 600+ professionals annually across numerous sectors in trainings that advance the organization’s vision of a more vibrant and inclusive world.

    LEARN MORE:  

    Upstream Arts offers two-hour and half day trainings; series of trainings over time; and embedded professional  development during our residency programs. Pricing varies based on type and length of training. 

    *The Art of Engagement is also available as a six-part video series designed for you to discover new ideas and reflect on your own practice.

    To learn more, please contact Julie Guidry, Executive  Director, at (612) 331-4584 or [email protected]

    Upstream Arts uses such a creative approach that is engaging and informative, yet gentle and inviting for all participants. Through their personal stories, Julie and Matt illustrate that people with disabilities are people first and model simple ways to make everyone feel welcomed and valued. I now have a deeper understanding of ‘Art of Access.’

    Jenea Rewertz-Targui

    Manager of Community Programs and Access Initiatives, The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 2014 - 2020