Sixth O+ Festival Makes Its Mark on Kingston

It's been a month since the sixth O+ Festival of art, music and wellness welcomed high-profile street and mural artists to make lasting contributions toKingston, N.Y., and receive complimentary health and wellness care from our volunteer providers. This year's signature mural, "Pronkstilleven" by Gaia, depicts Kingston-born painter John Vanderlyn and Ulster County-born abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth. It was made on the RUPCO building on Fair Street. For a glimpse into Gaia's process, watch this stunning time-lapsevideo.

Sojourner Truth was also the inspiration for the "Ain't I A Woman" mural made atMilne Fabrication Factory on Franklin and Furnace streets by renowned street artist jetsonorama in collaboration with film director, poet and artist Jess X Chen. The mural, which also honors black women poets, was covered by the well-regarded Brooklyn Street Art blog. We are in the midst of planning a complementary reading with poet Mahogany Browne at the Kingston Library.

"Kingston is a community where the worlds of art and medicine share equally the responsibility to make our city and the Hudson Valley a destination for everyone nationwide," says Joe Concra, executive director of the nonprofit O+ Festival (which includes festivals in Chicago and Petaluma, Calif).

Artists Lunar New YearMata Ruda and Nanook made a massive mural, "Anos de Soledad," at the site of our newest Kingston festival venue: Seven21 Media Center on Broadway. We are thrilled to share a time-lapse video of that striking mural.

Kingston was also gifted murals by Thorneater Comics at festival sponsorKeegan AlesJessie & Katey at Barcone's Music and Ernest Shaw at Anahata.

Our 2015 Wellness Clinic volunteer providers delivered care to 222 O+ Festival artists, musicians and volunteers, who received 497 wellness treatments (nursing, primary care, integrative medicine, acupuncture, massage, Reiki, aromatherapy, mental health, podiatry, chiropractic, Ayurveda, energy healing, matrix energetics, polarity therapy and shamanic healing sessions). In addition, there were 64 dental visits (total of 145 dental treatments, including cleanings, screenings, X-rays, treatments and fillings)!

"O+ 2015 was the most successful to date," Concra says. "The most important result for us is what we accomplished at the clinic, exceeding more visits than ever."

This year, Concra, along with art committee chair Chrissy Sakes and Nurse in Charge Shannon Light, were invited to share the O+ mission with the WAMC "Roundtable" audience. Click here to listen to their interview with host Joe Donahue.

We hope you were able to sample the many offerings of our two-day EXPLO+RE classes and Saturday Wellness EXPO+, ride in one of ourcycling events, make art and listen to local writers at the Literary SALO+N and CO+LLAGE Cafe, or interact with the public art, including the "Big Gay Alphabet" coloring posters by Jacinta Bunnell and Leela Corman, art/life counseling by Linda Mary Montano and music petting zoo by local music therapists.

Musically there were so many unforgettable performances at intimate venues -- including Tin Roof Sessions, back by popular demand -- throughout uptown and midtown Kingston. Did you sing along with Nicole Atkins and Corey Glover atSeven21 Media Center? Shake it with Prince Rama at BSP? Groove withConnor Kennedy at The Anchor?

"This year's Festival was bigger than ever, with an increased number of murals, artists, bands and activities for all, and watching everyone pull together to make it our biggest success yet, was the greatest reward for me," says Theresa Widmann, organizer of the Kingston festival. "It's beautiful proof of the things we can accomplish when we join together with our varied talents and gifts and a common goal. It's how we build community!"

What were your favorite moments? Join the conversation here.

This year our "What's It Worth to You?" model for all-access wristband donations put the decision making on the community. And you decided that you LO+VE the O+ Festival, donating more than $30K in wristband sales. More than 2,500 guests and volunteers attended this year's festival.

We could not put on the festival without the signature support of WMC Health and Lagunitas Brewing Company. And thank you to all oursponsors and partners; please let them know you appreciate their support of O+.

Many of our local businesses became O+ Festival Blood Relatives this year. If you have a DO+NOR card, use it as these amazing restaurants and stores. And thank you to festival sponsor, venue and Blood Relative Keegan Ales, who partnered with us on a number of promotions this year.

We are thrilled to share we have been awarded a $25K grant from the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation.

“O+ Positive is that rare organization that combines social action with real heart," says Bob Dandrew, director of the Local Economies Project. "The Local Economies Project and O+ Positive share a commitment to healthy food and healthy communities, and we are proud to be supporting their efforts.”

You can help O+ grow and flourish by giving what you can to the nonprofit organization. A great time to consider a gift to the festival is Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Finally, congratulations to our sister festivals in Chicago and Petaluma, Calif., for mounting wonderful O+ festivals in 2015.

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