Calendar Departments — 02 March 2018
ArtSage: The birth of an ambitious alliance

By Greg Carannante

City & Shore Magazine

The timing couldn’t be better — or worse — for Dr. Bindu Mayi.

With its infectious-diseases subtext and the tricky title of Mrs. A (like MRSA, the infection), her new novel is catching on amid the backdrop of the most severe flu season in years. It’s also landed the Nova Southeastern University microbiology professor in the spotlight at this month’s inaugural ArtSage Alliance Festival.

“This book talks about two things I am intensely passionate about: mentoring children and raising awareness about prevention of infectious diseases,” says Mayi, who joined the NSU staff 10 years ago after coming from Mumbai, India, to pursue a doctorate in molecular microbiology/immunology and a post-doctorate in infectious diseases.

In Mrs. A, a bullied middle-schooler meets the elderly title character who becomes his mentor and shepherds him through a challenging transformation. The spectre of infectious disease is woven into the plot.

“MRSA is just one bacterial infection I would like to educate the community about,” she says. “It is easily preventable. Hence, the desire to write in the context of a fictional story, so I could inform people without making it a lecture.” Though it’s her first published book, Mayi began writing fiction seriously at 16 as a catharsis following her twin’s death.

“I love it when people get their own aha moment and realize that Mrs. A actually spells MRSA.”

Mayi hopes there will be many such aha moments when she reads from the book as part of the ArtSage cultural festival at 2 p.m. March 20 at The Village Tower of John Knox Village in Pompano Beach.

“We have chosen this book to help us define and highlight the intergenerational mission of ArtSage,” says William Riddle, executive/artistic director of the Venetian Arts Society. The two-week festival is presented by the ArtSage Fine Arts Alliance, a multicultural-program collaboration of the society, NSU and John Knox Village.

“The ArtSage experience synthesizes the total artistic, social, multigenerational and educational experience,” he says of the program that, in addition to the festival, features the Celebration ArtSage concert series of international artists in a 21st century art salon setting.

Highlights of the festival include:

  • “Advanced Style” — Art salon with Ari Seth Cohen, featuring Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami; 6-9 p.m., March 13, Pompano Beach Cultural Center.
  • “Advanced Style” — Ari Seth Cohen interview/panel discussion, book signing and meet and greet; 2 p.m., March 14, John Knox Village.
  • Venetian Salon — Soprano Elizabeth Caballero; 6-9 p.m., March 24, John Knox Village Centre Auditorium.

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