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2021 marked a new beginning for upstArt. We have expended the program to encompass not just schools, but the community and public as well. We are now fully invested in this new strategy for arts outreach. We have collected a database of more than 60 potential community partners, and through a recruitment effort now have a roster of 24 teaching artists. Our 40 projects this year fall into three categories:

Schools - LPS Community Learning Centers (CLCs) and Pathfinder Program.

We are retaining a strong relationship with our wonderful partners at LPS. Through after-school CLCs We will now be able to offer services in more than just the art classroom. We will explore the arts with elementary and middle school children, including theatre, music, dance, writing and speaking. Conversations with CLC coordinators at LPS have led to an agreement to implement 22 after-school residencies this year, and 26 next year.

We will also continue our rewarding partnership with the Lancaster County Youth Services Detention Center's Pathfinder Program, where our art instruction residencies continue to make a profound impact year after year.

Community – Human Service Organization partnerships.

We will provide arts resources and opportunities to local partners in order for them to add the arts to their roster of services. New community partners include the Autism Family network, CEDARS, The Bridge, Nebraska Children’s and Family Foundation and several others. Please click the button at the bottom of the page for more detailed descriptions of these partnerships.

Public Spaces – Arts opportunities taken to the people.

We have opened a public gallery and art activity space in Gateway Mall called Gateway to the Arts. The space will host interactive events for six months and will be led by artist Ann Williams who has created a project called Garden of Possibilities. Visitors will create flowers and butterflies that will be exhibited around the mall at the end of the project. We will also do an event at the Graduate Hotel downtown.

UpstArt will continue to have a role in the Lincoln Arts Festival and Mayor’s Arts Awards as well, supporting and providing opportunities to local and emerging artists.


Twenty two CLC residencies are planned for the 21-22 school year. Of those, 9 are completed or in progress:

1. At Brownell Elementary Danny Reneau led a 6 week class on watercolor painting

2. At Pershing Elementary Tom Meyers led a 4 week class on pencil drawing

3. At Riley Elementary Jandro Alarcon led a month-long puppetry club

4. At Norwood Park Elementary Michael Rheinmiller is offering a 4 week introduction to photography

5. At Calvert Elementary Sharonda Harris-Marshall is offering a 7 week photography course

6. At Elliott Elementary Joan Phelan is leading a month long art club called 'Drawing and Observing our World'

7. At Prescott Elementary Lindsey Weber is offering a 6 week sculpture course.

8. At Saratoga Elementary Lindsey Weber is offering a 6 week club in comic drawing

9. At Randolph Elementary Oscar Pohirieth is leading 5 sessions on South American drumming techniques and culture

Come back soon to hear about the remaining 13 CLC projects that are in the planning stages.

We have also begun the first of two Pathfinder residencies with Nancy Konrardy at the Lancaster County Youth Services Detention Center. Nancy will cover several units including pastels and music, collagraphy, self-portraits and persuasive posters.


The biggest expansion to upstart this year is in the area of partnerships with area human service organizations. Twelve such collaborations are planned for this year, 6 of which are in progress or have been completed:

1. Autism Family Network and Urban Legends Art Studio. On the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month young adults with developmental delays attend an art class led by Anna Alcalde. At the same time parents and caregivers are given refreshments and a space to share stories and resources. At the February class participants decorated Nebraska cut-outs which they were able to take home. In March they painted ceramics piggy banks.

2. At a March family resources fair at Gateway Mall, we helped the Nebraska Children's and Family Foundation collect participant data through an art project led by Ann Williams.

3. Ceiling tiles for the SANE room (Sexual Assauly Nurse Examiner) at Bryan Hospital have been commission from artist Tom Meyers by LAC. Tom will also paint twelve motivational murals throughout the parking garages at both Bryan campuses.

4. At The Bridge, a live-in recovery center for men with drug and alcohol dependency, Danny Reneau is leading a three month therapeatic water coloring residency.

5. At CEDARS, an organization that provides resources and support for children in distress, Jandro Alarcon is offering a month-long slam poetry residency at their facility for both students unable to attend school and as an after-school program. Two more residencies will be offered at CEDARS this year.

6. In partnership with Lincoln Aging Partners and the Nebraska Arts Council we will be offering a month long enrichment project in music. A similar project focused on theatre will be done in collaboration with Eastmont Towers.

Come back soon to hear about the remaining 6 community projects that are in the planning stages.


Two projects are planned for this year in public spaces. With these projects we are taking art to the people, giving those who don't always have access to art institutions the opportunity to create and experience art.

1. We have opened a gallery and creativity space in Gateway Mall called Gateway to the Arts. Artist Ann Williams will lead a project called Garden of Possibilities which will urge and assist visitors in making flowers and butterflies out of various materials including found objects. These will then be displayed around the mall. There will also be visiting artists and rotating activities for adults and children. For more information about Gateway to the Arts and to find out what activities are coming up click here

2. In June at the Graduate Hotel downtown, we will help launch the 2022 Pride Festival with an intereactive photography project with Corey Rourke.

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