Watch a beautiful poem by UA Teaching Artist Akiko Ostlund
Watch a beautiful poem by UA Teaching Artist Akiko Ostlund
Dear Friend, 
Classroom photo montage of students of all ages laughing and doing exercises with Upstream Arts Teaching Artists.

It's been a year.

"A year ago, as the pandemic grabbed a hold of us, there was a sudden void of those intimate, kinesthetic, and personal moments that nourish us. We longed for those feelings, and flailed at them in pixels. 

Yet we pushed forward, grabbing our trowels and scraping at the scraps of accessibility, opening our screens for anyone who wanted to click and connect. There were no expectations, only a recognized need. Like our own son, Caleb, many who logged on didn’t understand the why

We at Upstream Arts have realized over time that one of our greatest acts is simply to show up, again and again. So that’s what we did. We just started, bit by bit, laying the bricks one at a time, struggling to (re)define what it means to be connected. 

These new structures birthed a new community, one that continues to gather to share creative time. This spring, in addition to the 37 other classes we have each week with our partners, we have had nearly 150 individuals with disabilities register for the 3 free public classes a week that we are offering online, designed specifically for those who have been most isolated. This is a new beginning for us.

Yet when I reflect on all that we have accomplished over this year, a year in which all of our partners have continued to make our work a priority even though they didn’t have to, it is clear that accessibility remains a major challenge. There are many who cannot, or would rather not, connect with us in this space, even though we do continue to show up. 

So I still long for those intimate, kinesthetic, and personal moments that nourish me, and that I so dearly miss. During a training this winter, I asked our Teaching Artists to reflect on the question: what do you miss about teaching in-person? 

I invite you to watch this 1 min video of Upstream Arts Teaching Artist Akiko Ostlund summing it up perfectly."
We’ll see you soon,

Matt Guidry, Artistic Director
and all of us at Upstream Arts

We keep showing up, and we hope you will too.

At the start of the pandemic, we made a commitment to our disability community: to keep showing up. One year later, here's how you can help us keep that commitment: invest in the continuation of our online programming for some of the most mariginalized members of our community. Because as surely as this pandemic will end, access must remain.
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.