When Upturn Arts began in 2010, a family approached us about their child, Elliot, who is neurodiverse and has physical challenges with limited movement on his left side. The family could not find a camp that allowed Elliot to participate all day. Our staff agreed to work together and support this young person so he could experience his creative journey.
After a few days at camp, the Upturn Arts team noticed all the other young artists supported Elliot. At lunch, everyone jumped in to help Elliot open containers. At recess, everyone formed a circle around Elliot so he wouldn’t leave the field alone. During drumming and dance classes, everyone was patient and encouraged Elliot to move his whole body.
After just one summer at Upturn, Elliot performed with the entire class in a drum circle and danced with feathers, using both hands and sides of their body. As the audience cheered at the performance’s end, Elliot grabbed the microphone and said: “Thank you, everyone. And I love you all!”
Elliot and the other young artists ALL experienced an upturn together as a community. Everyone – the students, teachers, audience – left that room just a little taller, especially Elliot, who is now in high school, plays basketball, and dances at the prom.