Online Art Auction Benefits O+ Festival in Petaluma

Maxfield Bala made "Grade A Chicken" during the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.
Maxfield Bala made “Grade A Chicken” during the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.

The works of the street artists who donated their time and talent during the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif., will be auctioned online to benefit the Bay Area festival. View the works and bid here beginning 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 until 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.

Artworks were made during live painting events on materials donated by Heritage Salvage and Crown Trophy. Participating artists include Maxfield Bala, Raudiel Sañudo, Xavi Panneton, Nell Hernandez, Tobias Johnson, Ryan Petersen and Rhett Johnston/Graham Nelson.

A reception, which presents an opportunity to view the art in person, takes place Jan. 23 from 7-10 p.m. at Prince Gallery, 122 American Alley in Petaluma. Complimentary beer from national festival sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company will be served.

Visionary artist Xavi Panneton participated in the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.
Visionary artist Xavi Panneton participated in the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.

“We have a lot to celebrate,” says Aimee Gardner, who oversees the Bay Area festivals. “Our 2014 weekend clinic welcomed 22 artists, 106 musicians and 78 volunteers, who received more than 400 visits with dentists, doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other wellness practitioners. Help make this happen again through your purchase of art.”

Auction organizers will extend the auction if the reserve is not met. To stay informed about the auction and reception, please “like” O+ Festival — Petaluma’s Facebook page.

The O+ Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community well-being by connecting musicians, artists and health & wellness providers in weekend-long celebrations.

The 2015 festivals will take place in Chicago in September, Kingston, N.Y. in October, and Petaluma, Calif., in November.

O+ Festival’s Year in Review: 2014 Characterized by Expansion

Festival earns non-profit status while adding mO+re cities, mO+re programming, mO+re care

Kingston, N.Y.-based artist Micah Blumenthal brought his "109 Lines of Communication" to the O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.
Kingston, N.Y.-based artist Micah Blumenthal brought his “109 Lines of Communication” to the O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.

It’s finally time to exhale. 2014 was an extraordinary year for the non-profit O+ Festival, which is dedicated to enhancing community well-being by connecting musicians, artists and health & wellness providers in weekend-long celebrations.

“O+ had a amazing year and so many compelling stories of wellness and connection have been told and will continue to be told,” says Executive Director Joe Concra. “We are all volunteers in this experiment in the gifting of art and music for wellness services.

In late spring, the IRS granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status to the organization, thanks to the work of Pro Bono Partnership. The designation means donations are now tax deductible and will provide the foundation for the Festival’s future growth and expansion. And 2014 was a year of tremendous growth for O+, which celebrated its fifth year in Kingston, N.Y., and second year in the Bay Area, this time in Petaluma, Calif.

“We have had thousands of clinic visits since we began 5 years ago, but beyond that we have made real human connections between artists, musicians, providers, neighbors and businesses, and we look forward to creating a space for that to happen across the country in 2015,” Concra says. “O+ is everyone’s festival and we are honored to help guide it and help it grO+w!”

Kingston during its Festival hosted a team of artists and musicians from Chicago, who will be launching an O+ Festival in their city (around 18th Street and Ashland) in September of 2015.

“I saw Joe’s TEDxTalk and was extremely inspired,” says O+ Chicago co-founder artist Amy Jo Arndt. To stay up-to-date and volunteer with the planning of O+ Chicago, please Like its Facebook page.

The 2014 Kingston O+ Festival hosted artists and musicians from Chicago, who launch a Festival there in 2015: Amy Jo Arndt, Cheryl Casden, Jody Casden & Josh Reisz.
The 2014 Kingston O+ Festival hosted Chicago-based artists Amy Jo Arndt, Cheryl Casden, Jody Casden & Josh Reisz, who will launch a Festival in the Windy City in 2015.

O+ volunteer Micah Blumenthal, a Kingston-based artist, graphic designer, percussionist and yoga instructor, participated in both Kingston and Petaluma festivals with his “109 Lines of Communication” public art.

“There were plenty of differences, but it’s the similarities that say more — both are strong communities committed to solving their problems,” Blumenthal says. “My work was about communication, about fun and exploration, and this seemed to matter to any who were willing to take the time. It was amazing to see so many interact so positively with my work, and the occasional destruction was cool to see too.”

Blumenthal last year received much-needed and long overdue dental care during O+.

“This year I saw a doctor and got a physical for the first time in 17 years and my first massage ever,” he says. “It (O+) not only provided me with care, but there is a presence surrounding the Festival and all of those who give, that made me take the opportunity and the care I have ignored for years.”

This year 20 artists and 55 musicians as well as 44 volunteers received health and wellness care at the O+ clinic in Kingston over the 3-day festival, which drew a crowd of about 2,200. Among the practitioners were nurses, primary care doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, energy workers, a psychiatrist, a naturopath as well as a team from the Institute for Family Health.

Visionary artist Xavi Panneton participated in the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.
Visionary artist Xavi Panneton participated in the 2014 O+ Festival in Petaluma, Calif.

Eli Morales, ND, was among those who donated time and talent Oct. 10-13.

“This is a great opportunity to give back and to help artists be healthy,” Morales says. “It’s kind of my mission as a naturopathic doctor is to help people feel free and achieve a sense of wholeness again. Singers are often on the road; it’s hard for them to be healthy, and so I’m doing my best to support them on their journeys.”

Sarah Tae L.Ac., C.M.T., who provided acupuncture services to artists and musicians at the 2014 festival in Petaluma, came away from the weekend with a true feeling of kinship.

“It helps us to connect deeper with ourselves when we learn to connect with others,” Tae says. “Everybody is a mirror and we remind each other of our own humanity.”

Tae was among the providers who donated their time and expertise to the 22 artists, 106 musicians and 78 volunteers at the Petaluma festival. Nearly 400 clinic visits took place during the Nov. 7-9 weekend, which drew about 600 visitors and participants. Services offered included massage, energy work, primary care, acupuncture, podiatry, chiropractic care, dental, optometry, mental health, audiology, light therapy and nutrition. An additional 16 vouchers for dental care were distributed to artists based in nearby San Francisco and Oakland.

Dental hygienist Katie Schiller treated O+ Festival volunteer Elissa Jane Mastel during the 2014 Festival in Kingston, N.Y.
Dental hygienist Katie Schiller treated O+ Festival volunteer Elissa Jane Mastel during the 2014 Festival in Kingston, N.Y.

Petaluma headliner musician and performer Morgan Sorne received wellness care at this year’s Bay Area Festival.

“To have these practitioners appreciate what I do and offer their services, it makes you feel like what you’re doing has value,” he says.

Petaluma is the home of national sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Company, which continues to increase its financial and marketing support for the Festival’s mission. During the fall, O+ Festival went CouchTrippin’ with Lagunitas to New Orleans.

“There was O+ presence everywhere,” says David Green, who heads up national marketing and events for the Festival. “I think we created some awesome connections along the way.”

O+ Festival in 2014 received excellent national media coverage, including a Details piece and a Hartford Courant profile of Richard Buckner. Leonard Nevarez, in his review of this year’s Kingston festival, said the “concept is, in a word, genius.” And the Christian Science Monitor named the non-profit one of “7 Groups Making Communities More Compassionate.”

To make a financial contribution to the mission and work of the non-profit O+ Festival, please visit our DO+nation page.

O+ Festival Returns to Bay Area 7th-9th November With Expansion to Petaluma

Same Amazing Festival, New Host City; plus Q & A with Dave Green from Lagunitas

With a lot of time and thought, O+ San Francisco has decided to expand out to the rest of the Bay Area with the desire to leave a solid impression of community assurance, urban renewal, and wellness celebration on a series of smaller, up-and-coming cities.

We feel that the nature of O+ is a grassroots movement designed to be grasped by the hands of its hosting community, and adopted to fit that city’s specific needs – to nurture the foundation of community while also inspiring new and ongoing relationships between care providers and the creative community. Our aims are to infuse each community with more art, music, and patronage to local businesses, and ultimately establish a year-round O+ headquarters in each hosting city to continue the innovation and community unity through the donation of wellness and art.

O+ San Francisco was an exceptionally powerful and successful event, as we raised more than $50,000 worth of impact of arts and wellness in just three days, providing dozens of artists and musicians access to free care, and gifting the city’s participants with a full weekend roster of music concerts, live art performances, healthcare events, workshops, and a community-run, volunteer-staffed pop-up clinic. We are proud of our positive effect on San Francisco, gracious of our past participants and volunteers who made it all happen, and incredibly excited to spawn a new O+ experience in this year’s chosen neighboring city.

With that being said, we are humbled and pleased to announce that this year’s festival will be O+ Petaluma, which takes place Nov. 7-9, 2014. Petaluma is a gorgeous river city and tight-knit community in Sonoma County, California, just one hour north of San Francisco. It is also the home of the Lagunitas Brewing Company, O Positive’s first national sponsor. Since coming aboard last summer, Lagunitas has demonstrated considerable support for the festival’s core mission, and has become a large part of the heart and soul behind the operation.

Now that the festival is taking place on Lagunitas’ home base, we are delighted to be working more closely with the real working, living, breathing people behind this incredible company, and wanted to get a little more insight into its connection with the festival, and its leadership’s thoughts and visions about O+ Petaluma.

David Green of Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Photo by Joyce Manalo)
Dave Green of Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Photo by Joyce Manalo)

We interviewed Dave Green, Lagunitas’ National Sponsorships and Events Director, and loved his answers so much that we decided to just post the whole interview:

O+: How did Lagunitas become involved with O Positive? You mentioned before of the founder of Lagunitas being an artist himself, and having a love for “eclectic” or “freakshow” art?

Dave Green: There is a weird, awkward, but so perfectly balanced connection that has been made. You speak of Tony, and his love for music, for the eclectic, for the oddities and for the bizarre, and truth be told, this is, in a way, how we happened across O+. We have some friends here on the West Coast, in said bizarre industry—The Vau de Vire Society—who helps in a major way to produce our infamous annual Beer Circus that we throw at the brewery here in Petaluma, and now for the first time this year out at our new facilities in Chicago. They help source the talent that Tony (Magee) loves. The contortionists, the sword swallowers, the weirdos that we all love to gawk at! Tony drives to see things that you cannot un-see, the things that push the norms. One of the people on their roster is Deb Gatiss. She was our connection. She had been working on O+SF with Joe Concra and reached out to us July 2013. The deed was done.

What happened next was typical of a brewery like ours during that time of year. It was brushed aside, to be handled after our “bigger fish” were fried. After a series of upward bounds I found myself with the O Positive connection dumped on me, and I was just learning the ropes of Lagunitas. I had started in June! We arranged a call with Joe and Liz Harrington, who coordinates their sponsorships … by this point, it was early October. But I was sold! I made quick work of getting a pallet of beer out to Kingston, and booked my flights. The local brewery, and O Positive sponsor, Keegan Ales, was kind enough to let us use some of his cold storage space to store our beer. Tommy Keegan, the owner, actually has some history in the Bay Area, and told me a great story of a visit to our brewery in the ’90s that made me laugh! I will let him tell that story though… So the whole weekend I ran around meeting all of the wonderful people behind this operation, getting that pallet of beer everywhere, and doing what we do! The entire community was so welcoming. I actually stayed at one of the care provider’s house, John McKinney. This house is probably one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest houses I had ever been in, and damn does he keep it nice. I felt like I was sleeping in a museum, short of the red velvet ropes. At the end of the festival, I had been bitten. I knew that this was going to turn into something more than what it already was, and really had no ceiling to its success! From that weekend forth, I have spread the gospel that is O Positive.

O+: Do you have a special or personal story in connection to O Positive and/or what is the reason that you are personally involved?

Dave: Benevolence. There is nothing like this—that is so true to the roots of why humanity exists. To see the love that the community of Kingston glows with in person was seriously a life-altering occasion. It is hard to put into words what this means to me personally without getting a little emotional. Two of our biggest drivers for a company are community and music. O Positive is just that. Understanding it over the phone when I first talked with Joe and Liz was one thing, but seeing it in action was a whole new thing entirely. O Positive is so much more than just being about the music and the giving back to the community and the artists. It perfectly demonstrates things that have been in many ways forgotten in our modern society. No money, no greed, no “dog and pony” show—just benevolence. Just kindness. Just doing what is right. Something not religious unless you want it to be, but something that draws spirit. Like a cosmic infrastructure of altruistic ideals. Something more than just surface. Something deeper. Something that to some may be the unconscious.

One of my favorite memories is that of the first night I was in town. It hit me in two stages. We had set up a promotion at the Santa Fe restaurant in Kingston, where we would have a view of the opening celebration parade from the patio. The first was that the folks at the establishment were nothing but welcoming. Just gave and gave and gave, and asked nothing in return, all for the “greater good” that O Positive influences.

The second was something else. A gentleman showed up, searched me out, and handed me a large cardboard box full of T-shirts. The T-shirts were custom-printed with our logo, the logo of the restaurant, and of course the O Positive logo. He just gave them to me, and said that hopefully these would help! This man was having dinner at the restaurant just the night before the event, which is where he learned about O Positive, and the party we were having. This man also owned a print shop, and he told me that he was so touched by the story, that he went to his shop and worked throughout the night to create those T-shirts so that he could deliver them to us in time for the gathering.

I don’t cry at movies, I don’t cry when I am in pain, I don’t cry at funerals, but this—this made me shed a tear or two. Corny, maybe, that a man with my crying reputation was brought down by a box of T-shirts. Cardboard, cotton, ink. But what else was in that box was this man’s selflessness. Was his passion. Was his kindness. Was benevolence.

O+: What are your intentions for O+ Petaluma? And what are your hopes for the effects of O+ on the town of Petaluma? How do you think that O+ Petaluma will differ from O+ San Francisco and O+ Kingston?

Dave: Our intentions are simply to see this be successful. The beauty of the O+ Festival structure is that it tightens the bonds within the community. This is proven in the success of Kingston. The once barren, “wastelandish” town surrounding the hollow IBM building is now, a bustling, artsy community that has desire. I want to live there! Petaluma is a great West Coast counterpart to Kingston. An artsy, almost bedroom community to the SF metropolis, as Kingston reflects to NYC. Born from farmland, grown with music and once again, desire. Packed full of great food, great music, and great people.  O+ will have the same effect here. There is a good web here, good bones, and the festival will serve as the glue, the fastener. O Positive will leave an impression by design that will strengthen this Petaluma web, and project beyond into further reaches of the West Coast, and/or further.

This is first and foremost about O+ and not about Lagunitas—down to the branding, the advertisement, everything. We are not in the spotlight. We work with a lot of great music and art festivals, and they all ask us what we want to do as far as Internet logo placement, radio ads, banner space. My answer is always, “Is this a festival about music, or is this a festival about banners?” I’ll sometimes hang my banners upside down to prove that it doesn’t matter. The feeling we get from watching the festival succeed is all we need to stay involved.

O+: Do you see a volunteer-run exchange service/clinic as a system that could work in the long run in the town of Petaluma?

Dave: I think Petaluma is the perfect place to establish a year round O Positive system. With the influx of great art, food, music, and some of the best holistic medicine within a stone’s throw, the community of Petaluma and the surrounding communities will have that soul, that passion, and that benevolence.

O+: What is Lagunitas as a company most excited about in terms of the festival?

Dave: To show our hometown of Petaluma what we have been doing on the East Coast! To introduce them to this new structure, to guide, to give insight, and to improve the community.

O+: Are there any other comments that you have?

Dave: The people that are involved with and have curated O Positive are of a special breed—not like the Westminster Kennel Club. I compare it a lot to the likes of the people I work with here at the brewery. We aren’t for show; we are for do. There are certain things that just should be. I leave you with a quote from Einstein…yes, I’m quoting Einstein:

“Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.”

O Positive is what should be.

O+: Thank you Dave.

The 2014 Petaluma website will be available soon and we will be starting the art and music submissions then. We are also looking for interested Healthcare and Wellness Practitioners, as well as festival Volunteers. For more information on how you can get involved please contact