PORT ST. LUCIE — Some things just naturally go together, like peanut butter and jelly, burgers and fries, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, and arts and mindfulness. Wait. What happened to the food theme? But now that your interest is piqued, let's explore that arts and mindfulness pairing a bit more closely.

For the creator of the upcoming Arts and Mindfulness Fest, taking place May 22-23, Alyone Ushe, Executive Director of the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance, arts and mindfulness together seemed like a natural fit. Many spiritual people are lovers of the arts, and many artists are also spiritual people.

So, bringing artists, creators, spiritual practitioners, and healers all together in one place to celebrate all that each area has to offer did not seem that strange a proposition. And so, the first ever Arts and Mindfulness Fest was born.

Ms. Ushe, now in her first year with the Cultural Alliance, envisioned a festival that would be “funky, cool, and totally unique” from the usual run of Spring and Summer festivals. Her vision also includes expanding the festival year after year, adding new and varied aspects with each iteration, keeping it live and relevant in these changing times.

Ms. Ushe’s main “partner in crime” as she describes her, is Linda McCarthy, Director of the Mid-Florida Event Center. Ms. McCarthy explains that promoting the arts and supporting local artists is part of the strategic plan for the City of Port St. Lucie, and is in keeping with the city’s mission of offering culture, nature, and fun activities with the goal of “inspiring civic pride.”

With that goal in mind, the Arts and Mindfulness Fest will bring in artists and crafters who will not only display their work for sale, but also share their process of creating the work, and even offer demonstrations where possible.

The artists themselves will cover the entire spectrum from visual and creative arts to performance artists and dancers.

Practitioners of the spiritual and healing arts will offer demonstrations and sampling of practices from acupuncture and massage therapy to reiki healing and tarot reading. Local artist Deena Rahill will give a performance using her amazing crystal “singing” bowls, and Kevin Beatkeeper will lead interested festival goers in a drum circle. If you have a drum, bring one. If you don’t, come out and buy one!

The arts are more than just something to be enjoyed in passing, once in a while. A recent blog post by Mr. Randy Cohen on the Americans for the Arts website states that the arts are a powerful tool for unifying communities, improving personal and emotional well-being, strengthening local economies, driving tourism and revenue to local businesses, and improving academic performance, among others.

Funds raised from this event, including vendor fees and raffle proceeds, will be used to support arts and artists right here in our own community.

The Arts and Mindfulness Fest, held in partnership with the City of Port St. Lucie and the Mid-Florida Event Center, will begin Saturday, May 22 at 10 a.m. and go through Sunday, May 23 till 5 p.m. This is a rain or shine event, and admission is free. There will be a kids corner with events and activities sponsored by the Oxbow Eco-Center.

For more information about this event, to register as a vendor, or to volunteer, visit their website at artstlucie.org.

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