Upstream Arts

A nonprofit organization

$520 raised by 10 donors

0% complete

$127,000 Goal

Group portrait of three UA Teaching Artists. Pedro, a long-haired, bearded, and nonbinary person; Nora, a Latine woman with long curly hair, and Chavonn a black femme with black curly hair, all stand in a row. Pedro and Nora are smiling big, Chavonn has their head up in laughter.We're changing mindsets about ability and disability.

Every day at Upstream Arts, we are adapting, surviving, and thriving in a world that too often seeks to separate and diminish individuals with disabilities. After the brutal isolation and crises of a still ongoing pandemic, the persistent reality for people with disabilities is the experience of being discarded and forgotten once again.

But we will not leave ourselves or our community behind. We are still here, still dancing, still singing, still creating, still advocating, and still finding ways to show up for ourselves and each other, with playfulness, with creativity, and with joy. Through residencies in schools, adult day programs, and community settings, we meet individuals with disabilities of all ages, everywhere they live, work, and play, to practice and create together.

“I honestly wish my students could take this class every year… I’m just so grateful we were able to do this with Upstream Arts, and I think it’s desperately, desperately needed.”- MPS educator

For over 17 years we have persisted, engaging in creative social emotional learning with and alongside individuals with disabilities. The power and longevity of our relationships, and the impact it has, cannot be understated. Showing up with joy and artistry, again and again, is our way of saying I see you, I hear you, I notice you. 

“This is the best thing that’s ever happened for my students in this school.” - MPS educator

Now we are asking you to show up with Upstream Arts. Your advocacy is key. Every time you participate in a class or event, invest in our programming, share our mission and work, or gather with us to learn, you are advocating for a more connected, more inclusive world.  

This year, it will take $127,000 to fund our innovative arts programming for students learning about healthy relationships, adults practicing self-advocacy, and individuals with disabilities at every stage of life fully embracing their human right to learn, to grow and change over time, and to creatively shape and mold the life and world we all want.  

We invite you to invest in this work in any amount meaningful to you. With every dollar, you are sustaining a creative community. Because of you, we are still persisting. We are still here. We are still thriving. Thank you.    

In community,

All of us at Upstream Arts

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.


Upstream Arts was founded in 2006 by parents that witnessed first-hand the positive impact of the arts education on their son, Caleb. Caleb, who is non-verbal, was born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, which affects his physical and cognitive development. Caleb’s father, a professional theatre artist and educator in the Twin Cities, exposed Caleb to theatre and dance at a young age. Caleb, who previously had few tools to communicate, began to use the physical movements, body language, and facial expressions he learned through the arts to communicate and engage with those around him. Out of this spirit and determination, Upstream Arts was born.

Learn more about us and see what we're up to at

Organization Data


Organization name

Upstream Arts

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


3501 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407



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