More than 100 musicians, painters and performers took part this year in the second annual “O+” Festival in Kingston, New York. Named for the blood type, the festival allows artists to barter their works and performances for health care in the form of back adjustments, blood work, dental fillings and eye exams.
Kingston dentist Thomas Cingel initially came up with the idea as a way to lure artists upstate. Dr. Cingel settled in the Hudson Valley for its natural beauty, yet missed the big city’s music scene. In May 2010 he emailed a Brooklyn indie band, promising them dental services in exchange for playing a Kingston show. From there, the idea has grown.
Treatments will include everything from basic physicals to orthopedic work. If an artist needs a more serious procedure, caregivers will schedule follow-up appointments. “Artists should not be falling through the cracks,” said Dr. Art Chandler III, director of hospitalists at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y., and overseer of the festival’s clinic. “They contribute so much to what makes a community worth living in.”