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Upstream Arts
Did You Know?

  • Upstream Arts is the only arts organization in the Twin Cities that develops social and communication skills through unique, interactive, curriculum-based arts programming for people with disabilities at every stage of life.
  • MPS has partnered closely with Upstream Arts since 2006. Each year, Upstream Arts runs 30+ programs for students age birth-21 in Special Education classrooms across the MPS district.
  • Local professional actors, directors, dancers, musicians, playwrights, poets, and visual artists teach fundamental skills in a variety of art forms, through playful activities that nurture self-expression, conversation, and group participation.
  • Upstream Arts serves students with cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities in many different settings, including ECSE, DCD, E/BD, ASD, and D/HH classrooms.
  • Upstream Arts has a goal of running programs in every MPS school, sharing the talents and raising the visibility of students receiving Special Education services throughout the district!

Upstream Arts is an innovator in the emerging field at the intersection of arts, disability and learning. Because of the breadth of their work in MPS, Upstream Arts has advanced the use of arts-infused strategies for teachers, forged new partnerships between the Art and Special Education Departments, and demonstrated the impact of the arts on social/emotional learning and academic skills.

Upstream Arts has a unique, high-quality, structured arts curriculum that is tailored for different classrooms and grade levels. Teachers and other school staff regularly praise their artists’ ability to meaningfully engage, honestly interact with, and skillfully teach groups of diverse abilities. Each year, evaluations show the impact of Upstream Arts on social/emotional, academic, and pre-vocational skills for students with disabilities at every grade level.