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UpstArt Program

Engagement, Education and Enrichment for Everyone

UpstArt is the Lincoln Arts Council’s flagship education program, bringing arts into schools and the Lancaster County Youth Services Center Pathfinder Program. We bring enriching art opportunities to over 2,500 Lincoln children to empower a diverse group of youth to channel their creativity, build their confidence and connect with others.

UpstArt was launched by the Lincoln Arts Council in 2010 with the goal of connecting artist-educators with under-resourced students of all ages. Since then upstArt’s partnerships with local schools and organizations have grown, including year-long programming, activities that focus on social-emotional learning, and experiences that enhance personal growth and self-esteem.

In partnership, teachers and principals design and personalize school residencies with local art, music, theatre and dance instructors. The Lincoln Arts Council facilitates these residencies to enhance learning. When possible residencies follow a three-year trajectory, following the same students across grades, building on what they learn.

UpstArt is about more than just providing access to arts education. It bridges the gap for students with limited resources and opportunities. Students who face social and academic hurdles are provided with affirmation, becoming more likely to overcome challenges. The Lincoln Arts Council puts a focus on Title I schools – schools in which at least 40% of students must enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.  Students are given the opportunity for a more equitable life experience.

The Lincoln Arts Council’s close relationship with Lincoln Public Schools ensures that we compliment the work of classroom teachers who sign up for the program and work collaboratively with the Arts Council and the Teaching Artists to build a program that meets their educational goals and LPS curriculum standards.

Research has proven the intellectual benefit of an arts education, but even more important is the deeply genuine experience that comes from an invitation to create. The College Board’s National Task Force on the Arts in Education recommends that “greater access to arts education can serve as an effective tool in closing the achievement gap, increasing the number of underserved students that achieve at the highest levels in education.” This is what inspires the upstArt mission.