NATURE Lab (North Troy Art, Technology and Urban Research in Ecology)
NATURE Lab uses media and interdisciplinary arts as a seed to reclaim public space and build community. Situated on a neglected block in Troy, NY, this living learning laboratory engages networks of artists and scientists, media makers and gardeners, community organizers and neighbors in collective actions stimulating environmental health and sustainability.
What is an Estuary: Spawn of the Hudson (with Jillian Hirsch)
The health of the river depends on the health of its watershed, and the estuary’s taught by a team of ichthyologists and artists, this workshop will cover the biology of fish and their life cycle, and the vital need for the health of the Hudson River Estuary. Participants will develop scientific knowledge about fish, river quality, and help create a public art installation to educate fisherman and people passing along the river.
Aquaponics NATURE Lab
Project goal is reuse of abandoned lots employing art to reclaim public space and build community relationships.
NATURE Lab will call 3334 6th Ave. its' home:
The NATURE Lab will integrate art, science, and technology in a series of community workshops, public art installations, and inter-regional arts and cultural exchanges. Artist teams will work with the community around issues of "curing" our local ecologies, environmental health and sustainability.
Funding for development of the NATURE Lab by Media Alliance has been announced as part of Round 3 of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative through the Capital Region Economic Development Council and the NYS Council on the Arts. The grant will be matched with funds obtained from the National Endowment for the Arts. Media Alliance is a non-profit community organization that operates The Sanctuary for Independent Media and Collard City Growers on the 3300 block of 6th Avenue, as well as the adjacent outdoor public art project Freedom Square.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Media Alliance Executive Director Steve Pierce. “It’s just the boost our North Troy neighborhood needs. We’re very grateful for this support.”
NATURE Lab, to be headed by Kathy High (an internationally-known bioartist and professor in the Arts Department at RPI), seeks to transform negative stereotypes of North Troy into visions of a place with rich opportunities to explore: sustainability, permaculture, food justice, nutrition education, urban gardening, composting, alternative transportation, healthy exercise, and grassroots media and social networking for environmental education.
A key goal is to refresh the infrastructure in our public spaces, designing a living learning laboratory to attract visitors and participants from far and wide. Other outcomes include expanding dialogue and attention to health and nutrition education, urban gardening and composting, food justice, and creating remedies for environmental health. This model project will provide a platform for residents to green their environmentally devastated communities and is designed as the foundation for a permanent space for NATURE Lab, with the goal of connecting artists, scientists and the citizens throughout the region.
"Art will be the seed to reclaim public space and build community relationships," said project coordinator Kathy High. "NATURE Lab will focus on artists and scientists, non-profits and businesses, community groups and neighbors, coming together to transform our distressed communities through creativity and collaboration." According to High, "the primary goal of NATURE Lab is to engage citizens directly in scientific research and creative participatory arts practice in the community. The artistic work is designed to trigger a dialogue, rippling out from the direct community to an engaged global network, and to develop new skill sets for community members. We strive for better understanding, realization, and critique of our ecological futures."
Other related Media Alliance initiatives include a $50,000 grant from the NYS DEC Environmental Justice program to develop a series of food forests throughout the block and $45,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the workshop series “BioArt in an Industrial Wasteland,” both awarded earlier this year. The NATURE Lab will serve as an umbrella for these projects and more. Support for the NATURE Lab comes on the heels of the successful year-long project “Found Art in North Troy,” also funded in part by the Regional Council initiative through the Capital Region Economic Development Council, the NYS Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as numerous private donors.