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A unique arts festival is returning to the South Coast after a two-year hiatus

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Mental Wellness Center
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After a two-year hiatus, Mental Wellness Center are hosting the 26th Annual Mental Health Arts Festival on Saturday, July 16 from 11am to 3pm in De La Guerra Plaza, downtown Santa Barbara

The festival showcases artists impacted by mental health disorders.

It’s been running in Santa Barbara for 26 years and the Mental Health Arts festival is returning on Saturday, after a two-year break because of the pandemic.

Annmarie Cameron, the CEO of the Mental Wellness Center, which organize the event, says it means a lot to the artists to be able to once again show their works in public.

"The social isolation of these last two years has touched us all, " Cameron told KCLU.

"Some people who previously didn't have time for art maybe made time for the first time. For these artists, this is something that has carried them through the last two years — their ability to express themselves through art," said Cameron. "To show it again in public and have that interaction will mean a lot to them."

As in the past, the festival will showcase the artwork of local artists in mediums including painting, drawing, jewelry, poetry, sculpture and arts and crafts. But what’s really special about the festival doesn’t end with the artwork, said Darcy Keep, MWC Board Members and Administrative Director of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine at Cottage Health.

“It’s an opportunity for artists to display their work and showcase their talent the community in a way that is positive, productive and meaningful for them,” explained Keep.

“Most of these artists have been exhibiting for years and years. We also get new artists who are members of the Mental Wellness Center’s Fellowship Club. The Center has an art room and members who start creating want to display their artwork,” added Keep.

The Arts Festival will take place on Saturday July 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in De La Guerra Plaza in Downtown Santa Barbara. Visitors to the festival can access the Plaza by parking on a nearby street.

Caroline won an LA Press Club Award in 2021 for Use Of Sound. However, she started her broadcasting career in the UK, working on both radio and television for the BBC, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism. She moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and is both an American and British citizen. Caroline lives in Agoura Hills with her daughter, and joined the KCLU team in 2020.