Read our year in highlights
Read our year in highlights
Dear Friend, 
Nora, a UA Teaching Artist with dark, curly hair stands in her home next to her child Neri, a young smiley kid with a bow in their hair. Together, they make ASL gestures for
Teaching Artist Nora and her daughter Neri instruct viewers on how to Mirror in Spanish as part of our studio ACCESS arts-learning video series in response to COVID.

Some good news from 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, we at Upstream Arts want to take a moment to reflect on the opportunities we've found inside this year's upheaval; to deepen our investment in our disability community and our Teaching Artists, to be with and uplift one another, and to expand our accessible offerings, now and into the future. 

So here we go - let's try it - our good news from 2020:

- We carried out an in-depth exchange with artists from zAmya Theater in-person and virtually – working for the first time with individuals who are unhoused.

- We facilitated community conversations and a poster awareness campaign with artists from MSS around sexual violence prevention, supported by MN Dept of Health.

- We continued to deepen our out-of-state work; creating and presenting an Art of Me performance and photography exhibit with artists from the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee.

- We conducted The Art of Voice and Choice residencies with five school district’s Transition programs for students with disabilities ages 18-21.

- We completed our second successful collaboration with The Moth storytelling network, presenting new stories from non-traditional storytellers! 

- Our Staff adapted all of our programming online in the span a week - not cancelling any of our classes.

- In response to COVID lockdown, we employed our Teaching Artists to create studio ACCESS: 37 short arts-learning videos for breath, support, and connection.

- Executive Director Julie Guidry's testimonies for the State House of Representatives and Senate contributed to the passing of new legislation mandating training on sexual violence prevention for all Direct Support Professionals.

- We embarked on our first collective summer arts camp with five other organizations/artists specializing in arts-learning for and with people with disabilities.

- We welcomed 7 new Teaching Artists onto our roster!

- Minneapolis Public Schools entrusted us with the creation of six professional development videos for educators on how to creatively engage students in a digital world, using the strategies we developed in the first four months of quarantine.

- We launched our school residency season virtually, without reducing any of our programming: running classes with 36 groups/week!

- We expanded our Art of Relationships residencies on healthy relationships, bodily autonomy, and consent to reach its youngest ever participants: adolescents in the Minneapolis Public School District

- We worked with a focus group of our Teaching Artists to increase the LGBTQIA2+ inclusivity of our Art of Relationships curriculum, and with our partners at Teen Annex to add more information-rich content.

- We received the highly competitive SEL Innovation Award to support our ongoing work in Minneapolis Public Schools.

Throughout this year, we received overwhelming support from our community of supporters (thank you!), making it possible for us to reach every fundraising goal that we set in 2020, and for us to respond creatively to the emergent needs of our community.

We want you to know that you've been an integral part of our work. Every minute you engage with Upstream Arts is time spent centering the voices of our disability community, of refusing to let them and their experiences be invisibalized. While these daily actions may seem small, they are actions that undermine ableism and create a world where all of us, regardless of ability, are seen and valued. For your solidarity and support, thank you. You are Upstream Arts, moving with us against the current.
Warm hands for all you do,
Julie, Matt, Bree and all of us at Upstream Arts

You are one of the highlights of our 2020

Thanks to a historic response on Give to the Max Day, and generous investments during our Fall Fund Appeal campaign, we've already reached our $15,000 year-end goal, bringing us that much closer to our overall fiscal year goal of $100,000 by June 30th, 2021! From all of us at Upstream Arts, a very heartfelt thank you. Your investments made it possible for us to evolve our practice each moment of 2020, and will enable us to plan flexibly to meet the opportunities of 2021.
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