O+ Art Festival Tackles Health Coverage for Artists

O+ Art Festival Tackles Health Coverage for Artists

Calling all artists (and performers of all kinds)! Exchange your art for health services this fall!

One of the most dire problems in the world of the arts is the sheer lack of health service assistance that artists have access to. Most artists don’t have health insurance because they’re too poor to afford it or just a tiny bit too well-off to get government assistance (and don’t have time to jump through their hoops). As a result, artists often choose to take the risk that they won’t get sick or wind up in an accident. If something does go wrong, they’re not likely going to be in the state of mind to properly take care of their medical needs, even when they’ve got friends and family members there to support them.

This is not an acceptable way to live. The risks that artists take are major; the odds are not in their favor. Artists who depend on their work for income need to find a way for their health to be supported.

Enter O+, a new festival that was started by a dentist, a doctor, and a couple of artists – all friends – in Kingston, NY (near Woodstock). Their idea is quite simple: Artists come to the festival to perform or show their art, and are ‘paid’ with health care of all kinds ranging from physical therapy, blood tests, dentistry, eye exams and the like. Covering everyone’s healthcare is no simple matter, but much success has been had with the festival thus far. It marks the beginning of a solution to the artist healthcare problem.

Apply to get your artwork or band into the festival

O+ is only about to hit its third birthday – it’s still young and small. Because of the attention it’s gotten (TED, Wall St Journal, Huff Post, Bloomberg Business Week and others), and because its volunteers are VERY passionate about its cause, it really has the potential of reaching very far and wide.

Submissions are currently being accepted for both musicians and visual artists. The best way to get involved, however, is to volunteer – you will still be able to take advantage of some of the health services offered. For details on volunteering, check out the site here.

Taking part in any way means spending Columbus Day weekend in October up in Kingston, NY, which is a short two-hour drive north of Manhattan with bus services leading directly into the heart of the festival. If attending is not feasible for you, spreading the word will help call attention to the festival and help it grow so that more artists can be helped. You may want to consider starting a version of the festival in your city.

The O+ Festival is a festival of art and music wherein artists barter their contributions directly for medical, dental, and other wellness services from art-loving health care providers. The third annual O+ will take place in Kingston, NY this October 5, 6 and 7, 2012 (Columbus Day Weekend).

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