Mental Wellness Center to Host the 26th Annual Mental Health Arts Festival

Saturday, July 16 from 11am to 3pm in De La Guerra Plaza

After a two-year hiatus of holding in-person festivities, the Mental Wellness Center (MWC) is bringing its Mental Health Arts Festival back to De La Guerra Plaza. 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.

“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 Darcy Keep, MWC Board Members and Administrative Director of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine at Cottage Health. 

“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,” said Keep.

This year’s featured artist Arts Festival is Kristine Kelly. Kelly creates fused glass artwork, mostly featuring nature scenes, and was recently awarded first place at the National Glass Expo held in Las Vegas for her depiction of a scene in Yosemite Valley.

Kelly’s art is used in this year’s Art Festival poster and depicts an underwater scene made entirely of glass she has colored and shaped herself.

Keep first joined the board of directors for the MWC over 20 years ago. Her background was in advocating for people that are impacted by mental health disorders and she saw the Arts Festival as a way to build on that. 

“I love art, but I’m not an artist myself,” Keep said. “I’ve always been motivated to help people, especially those who are more vulnerable or less fortunate than others. It’s hard to express how much I love and admire the MWC clients. Most of us have no idea of the struggles these individuals face on a daily basis and how challenging it is to live in a world that unfortunately still stigmatizes them. While others may see their differences or limitations, we at MWC see their artistic gifts, their strengths and their resilience.” 

Attending the festival 

This year’s Arts Festival will take place Saturday, July 16 from 11am to 3pm in De La Guerra Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara. Visitors to the festival can access the Plaza by parking on a nearby street. 



About Mental Wellness Center

Celebrating 75 years of service to Santa Barbara, the Mental Wellness Center has been a community leader in building hope for individuals and families, providing support in recovery and raising awareness of mental health. This important organization provides mental health education to local students, a residential services program which safely provides a home to more than 100 community members across seven residential sites, and serves individuals and families impacted by mental illness through support groups, employment services, and social connection programs like the Fellowship Club, an on-site social day club and safe space with resources for those working on their mental health and wellness.



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