Welcome to the ToO+lkit!

We exchange.

For us, the exchange is the art of medicine for the medicine of art. We’ve produced 18 festivals where artists and musicians received a range of wellness services like doctor and dentist visits, specialist visits, massage, alternative therapies, etc.. In return, the healthcare providers and the entire community are able to experience the benefits of the art and music. 

Over the years we’ve had people ask us how they can do an exchange festival in their community. In response, we’ve developed two models. With our Launchpad model, the O+ National Team will work with you to put on a Festival. We’ll visit your city and do a landscape analysis to figure out whether an O+ will work there and what resources you’ll need to put it on. We work directly with your local team to put on an O+ Festival, complete with the O+ branding.

In the ToO+lkit model, we freely offer what we’ve learned over the past 12 years so you can build an exchange without O+ guiding every step of the process. We encourage you to take this and make your own exchange event without O+ branding. Maybe you’d like to exchange landscaping for mechanical work, or you’d like to do a festival of just music for dental services. However you decide to exchange, I hope this ToO+lkit will provide some helpful information. We’d love a shoutout when your event goes live!

If you’re interested in connecting with other folks around the world who are also using the ToO+lkit, we’ve put together a Slack that you’re welcome to join. Members of the O+ Team are also in this Slack to answer questions.

Happy Exchanging!

Holly Kelly and Joe Concra of
The O+ National Team
toolkit@opositivefestival.org

CO+nnect

You’re welcome to view the ToO+lkit below, download it as a pdf, connect with other people using the ToO+lkit via Slack, sign up for further ToO+lkit info, or communications from O+.

Let us know how you’d like cO+nnect!

Values and Mission Expression

Exchanging with others is a time-honored tradition. At O+ we developed a model of exchanging Art for Medicine. We deliver this exchange via festivals because everyone loves a party and because artists, musicians and other creative people in our communities continue to struggle with access to affordable healthcare. So we thought: What if we took money out of the system and instead valued each other equally? A dental filling equals a painting, a check-up with a primary care doctor equals a song! What started as a conversation between a Dentist and an Artist has grown into a nationwide project spreading healthcare and art and building more resilient communities.

We hope you will take our model of exchange and use it in your community. This guide is to help you get started. We are here to help. We are here to share knowledge. It’s all about the first small step…

Compassionate Radical Creative

Getting Started

An exchange is as simple as asking your friends and neighbors what they need and what they have to give. For us at O+ it was artists in need of healthcare and providers that were willing to exchange for performances and public art that could inspire the entire community. In this section we will take you through some basic steps to begin.

Planning

Your Exchange Plan doesn’t need to be an exhaustive document. It’s the outline of your model that summarizes the decisions you’ve made for your exchange. It’s your tool to show other people what you’re doing and why they should support it. It should state your mission and your story, the problem you’re solving, your creative solution to this problem, and how you plan to achieve it. As you go through this toO+lkit and think about how the elements of this process apply to your situation, note those down and integrate them into your exchange plan.

Follow-through Festival Weekend

Be a great host. Celebrate in the joy of bringing together different segments of your community to engage in an exchange. The most valuable thing we have seen at O+ is the connection that is made when money is taken out of the system of care, even for one weekend. It is a celebration of each other. The relationships that are made at O+ carry on in many different ways during the year.

Post-Festival Considerations

“After the glow, the stage, the scene, the set…” (Pavement)

Take a little time to decompress from the go-go-go of festival work and then throw a thank you party for all those involved. It will be great to have some numbers for the team to reflect upon. Think about what’s important to you to take away.

Thank you to the Center for Cultural Innovation for generously supporting this project.