This past weekend, Poughkeepsie was alive with street musicians, mural artists and wellness professionals. The first annual O POSITIVE FESTIVAL (O+) transformed the city by bringing their mission to life: “By exchanging the art of medicine for the medicine of art, O POSITIVE empowers communities to take control of their collective wellbeing.”
The under-insured artists and musicians who donate their works and performance to O+ audiences receive free health and wellness care in an Artists’ Clinic staffed by volunteer providers. O+ was founded in 2010 by a small group of creatives, doctors and dentists in Kingston. It is now a Kingston-based nonprofit working in cities throughout the country.
The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory hosted the Artists’ Clinic this year. Vibrant red curtains were hung to divide the examining rooms and volunteers helped the musicians and artists complete their medical history forms. Everyone had a story to tell. “I need to see a dentist and an eye doctor. I spent over $10,000 last year on a dental bone draft,” said Boogie, a mural artist. “I’m looking forward to seeing an acupuncturist. I am a graphic design artist and my hands really need help,” said Cary Janis, a member of the Brooklyn band Pontoon. Richard Clegg, an acupressurist who teaches classes at Vassar, was happy to assist. “Artists should not have lesser care. There is art in my medicine and there’s art in his music,” said Clegg.
All of the artists and musicians I spoke to agreed that the Festival is a positive community connector. “It is a Festival where everyone is included and there is no competition. We all work together. Remember to: APPLY PRESSURE AND ELEVATE.”
The 8th annual Kingston O+ Festival will be held on October 6-8 and include over 20 artists, 50 plus bands, cycling events, yoga classes, dance and meditation.
Full line-up and all access wrist bands: OPOSITIVEFESTIVAL.org/KINGSTON