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'Women Inspire' A Festival Of Art, Business And Community

On Saturday, June 11, ninety women vendors, artists, musicians and dancers will fill Bloomington's Fountain Square Mall from top to bottom for the 2011 Luna Festival, a celebration of women in business and the arts.

The participants range from Middle Eastern dancers to watercolorists to life coaches, and hail from all over the state. They've been brought together by Women Inspire, a six-year-old nonprofit dedicated to connecting and empowering women through education and communication, outreach and mentoring, and encouraging collaboration.

A Seed Of Good Company

Loni Dishong is the founding director of Women Inspire. "When we started, it was very much about just coming together and enjoying each other's company and learning, in a very casual setting. Then, as we grew, we became more formalized."

In the six years since Dishong founded the organization, Women Inspire has grown into a 501-C3 nonprofit organization that spans two cities, and offers its resources to others.

A Network Of Branches

"What we're doing is so incredibly valuable. So many statistics out there-from the World Health Organization, the United Nations-show that when women are healthy and happy, everyone around them is healthy and happy. When we women are able to follow our dreams, pursue our goals, provide for our families, manage our stress levels, have meaningful relationships in our communities, we then are able to find out how we can be blessings to the people around us. How we can have fun, and how we can live our dreams… grow where we're planted."

The Luna Festival is an opportunity for women, men and children alike to see just how broadly the branches of Women Inspire have grown.

"It's so neat when you get people together with the idea of 'let's shine,' you know? 'What can you do? What are your talents? What are your gifts?' These vendors are able to express themselves. They have their booth space, and within that space what they do with it is up to them. It's really exciting and fun to see what they do, what they come up with."

The Performers

Performers at this year's Luna Festival include:

A portion of Luna Festival proceeds benefits Girls Inc.

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