Upstream Arts is the only arts organization in the Twin Cities, and one of only a handful nationally, that is focused specifically on developing social and communication skills through curriculum-based arts programming for people with disabilities at every stage of life. We integrate individuals with cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities into multidisciplinary arts residencies designed to develop social/emotional and communication skills vital to success in school, work and life. In our programs, local professional artists—including actors, musicians, poets, visual artists, and dancers—teach fundamental skills in a variety of art forms through fun activities that nurture self-expression, conversation, and group participation. Participants meet for 1-2 hours weekly over a designated period of time (most often 6, 12, or 18 weeks), usually in a setting where they already receive services.
A typical Upstream Arts program is an arts residency in one of the following core focus areas. All of our residency program offerings are available for individuals of all abilities, and several are available for all age groups. We work with every partner to customize the structure and length of residencies according to the partner’s unique interests and goals. To explore possibilities, please contact Julie Guidry, Upstream Arts Executive Director, at (612) 331-4584 or [email protected].
The Art of Voice and Choice
This program uses multiple art forms to foster self-advocacy and practice Person Centered Thinking with individuals with disabilities and their support staff. Learn more here.
Who We Serve
Our residencies are designed to provide a lifetime of arts learning experiences for individuals with disabilities, from birth to retirement and beyond. We also regularly offer community programs and trainings open to people of all abilities, including artists, educators, program staff, administrators, producers, and the general public.
We partner with school districts to offer programming for students receiving Special Education services, from birth to age 21. Learn more here.
We use the arts to support community services; produce performances and exhibitions; and join cross-sector dialogues. Learn more here.
Curious about bringing Upstream Arts to your school or organization, but having trouble imagining what we would do? Contact us to set up a 1-hour “freebie”! This session – absolutely free of charge – can offer a better understanding of how we work to support individuals with a range of cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities.