By TOM KEYSER, Staff writer
When administrators at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute expelled an exhibition two years ago because of concerns it was connected to terrorists, the exhibition quickly found a home. The Sanctuary for Independent Media opened its arms.
Situated in an old church in Troy, the sanctuary found itself on the news pages, an unusual happenstance for an arts-and-media center that presents work that the traditional media usually won't touch. It allowed the Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal to display "Virtual Jihadi," in which he cast himself as a suicide bomber on a mission to assassinate President Bush.
Protestors, supporters and reporters showed up. But then, the sanctuary slipped back out of the public eye. For many, that's all they know about the place. We sat down with Steve Pierce, executive director, and Branda Miller, arts and education coordinator (and professor of media arts at RPI), to find out more.
The sanctuary is a project of the nonprofit New York Media Alliance. It has operated for five years, relies heavily on volunteers and presents music, films, exhibits, workshops, talks and plays. Its spring season has just started.
Q: How do you decide your season?