Upstream Arts Impact Story

Upstream Arts was founded in 2006 by Julie and Matt Guidry, parents of a child with disabilities who witnessed the positive impact of the arts on their son Caleb. Caleb, who is non-verbal, was born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, which affects his physical and cognitive development. Caleb had few tools to communicate, until Matt, a professional theatre artist, exposed him to theatre and dance at a young age. Caleb began to use the physical movements, body language, and facial expressions he learned through the arts to engage with those around him; out of this experience, Upstream Arts was born. Our first program was in Caleb’s Special Education classroom in 2006. Since then, Upstream Arts has grown exponentially in response to high demand. Our programs use theatre, dance, music, visual arts and poetry to nurture the social/emotional and communication skills individuals with disabilities need in school, at home and in the community. Annually, we now work 60+ Special Education classrooms. In addition, we work with Adult Day programs, community organizations and provide professional development on accessible arts programming, serving over 3500 individuals of all ages and abilities annually.

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