Upstream Arts is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit arts organization that uses the power of the creative arts to activate and amplify the voice and choice of individuals with disabilities. Founded by parents who witnessed first-hand the positive impact of the arts on their son’s ability to communicate with those around him, Upstream Arts serves people of all ages with cognitive, developmental, emotional, behavioral, and physical disabilities, as well as those who are deaf or hard of hearing and those with visual impairments. Their programs are led by teams of professional artists and are designed to nurture social, emotional, and communication skills vital to success in the classroom, the workplace, and the community.

LuminFire has worked with Upstream Arts for several years providing them valuable enhancements to their custom FileMaker app that streamlined their workflows and processes — saving them money and increasing their ability to serve their clients.

With over 100 different programs and 30 teaching artists, Upstream Arts’ complex system of tracking artist’s time and travel was very time-consuming, taking days to verify using their existing process in Excel/Google Sheets. LuminFire was able to automate this process in FileMaker, bringing their FileMaker database to a new level using WebDirect technology. WebDirect makes it easy for the teaching artists to verify the time they worked by accessing the FileMaker app externally.

LuminFire’s customizations to their solution also made it much easier for Upstream Arts to quickly and accurately generate their payroll based on the programs that had run. In addition, we integrated their Google Calendar with FileMaker so programs appear automatically on the right calendars.

Upstream Arts saves money by taking advantage of LuminFire’s discounted FileMaker licensing program for non-profits. Luminfire also assists upstream arts with their Apple Macintosh computer and network support. Most of this work is performed remotely, keeping things running smoothly at a minimal cost. We are also able to support nonprofits in securing the best prices on Macs to make the most of their resources, and we can assist with Google Gsuite management to help increase collaboration for their teams.

New Challenges
COVID-19 meant a major change in how Upstream Arts was able to deliver their content. No longer could they travel and appear in person to their clients. Upstream Arts realized that in order to continue offering their valuable programs, they would need to create online classes instead. To accommodate their new style of online teaching, LuminFire built Upstream Arts a video delivery system using their WordPress website.


We assisted in their digital efforts with website videos on YouTube and classes using Zoom. We made it possible on their website to filter videos by different categories (curriculum type, social skill, language, etc.), and by hiding members-only videos until a user is logged in. These were both important steps toward the custom web application Upstream Arts is dreaming of building in the future.

As a non-profit organization with a great mission, LuminFire helped Upstream Arts every step of the way, including offering them needed budget and planning information so they could successfully secure a technology grant…as well as providing some pro bono hours through a LuminFire technology grant to make this project a success.

“We’re so excited about all the updates you’ve made to our FileMaker solution – they will have a HUGE impact on our workflow. It’s been a real pleasure working with LuminFire on these projects. We’re looking forward to planning for the next round. THANK YOU Luminfire for another beautiful and elegant solution for our work on our website. We for sure want to do more, more, more with all of this. Thanks again for all the work.” – Julie Guidry, Co-Founder / Executive Director of Upstream Arts

If you are looking for a long term technology partner who really cares about helping your organization be more effective and productive, LuminFire can help in so many ways, including FileMaker/WordPress development, Apple Macintosh support, Google GSuite, security, and more. We will help you make the most of your resources.

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with the Claris platform including FileMaker and WordPress. He also knows Apple macOS technology inside and out.