February 13, 2011

Spring 2011 Newsletter

We’ve got another great season at The Sanctuary for Independent Media this spring! Check out the event schedule, workshop lineup, and gallery description in this brochure… and make sure to visit our website for more details. If you’re not already on our email list and following us on Facebook, please sign up at www.mediasanctuary.org so you don’t miss late-breaking developments.

Last season, a celebration of our first five years at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, was amazing! We hosted an ambitious schedule that ran the gamut from incredible films presented by their makers, Malian diva Khaira Arby and jazz poet extraordinaire Jayne Cortez, to activist authors Chris Hedges and Helen Caldicott, plus many powerful local voices as well. If you missed any of the excitement, check our archive at www.mediasanctuary.org/tv for video highlights!

We also accomplished a great deal outside our regular programming. First and foremost, we were able to literally raise the roof at The Sanctuary for Independent Media! Thanks to many individual donations as well as major grants from the Howard and Bush Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, we undertook major structural repairs to our building. There were many volunteers involved in the effort, who gave up much of last summer to ensure that this historic space will be here for many years to come.

Last year we completed our first major youth media peer-training workshop, called Youth Media Sanctuary. With the Missing Link Street Ministry and support from the Louis and Hortense Rubin Community Fellowship, we trained a group of young people from our North Troy neighborhood so they could document key issues affecting their own lives: violence, family, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, urban decay and poverty, and the need for health, safety and positive education. And they opened up to share their hopes and fears. The finished documentary is called “North Troy Rough Cut” (look for it at www.mediasanctuary.org/tv).

Fresh from that success, we’re now working with Tech Valley High School and WMHT-TV on the Capital
 Region Youth Voices project. Our goal is to continue expanding the Youth Media Sanctuary program, having the participants learn media literacy and produce material about their experiences living in the Capital Region. The resulting work will be distributed by PBS and screened on April 30 at our second annual statewide youth media festival, NY Shout Out!

Our other large-scale production initiative last year involved exhaustive live coverage of the United National Peace Conference in Albany. Our video of U.S. soldier Ethan McCord’s talk at the peace conference, featuring footage of the infamous Apache helicopter civilian massacre in New Baghdad, continues to resonate globally. The piece, produced and distributed in cooperation with WikiLeaks, has been watched online by more than 1.5 million people around the world and was just featured by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Almost all of this was accomplished by volunteers, working with a wide variety of contributed resources. The Sanctuary for Independent Media depends almost entirely on donated labor, equipment, material and financial resources, which even in these troubled times continue to sustain us.

We’re excited about the recent arrival of a century-old Hobart M. Cable baby grand piano, which came to us from a home in Amsterdam, NY. Several newly-contributed computers allowed us to upgrade our video editing capabilities. And imagine our surprise at the end of the year when we received a generous donation of stock!

We’re hoping that others in a position to help us build The Sanctuary for Independent Media will do so, whether by volunteering, making a contribution, perhaps remembering us in their wills. Whatever support you can afford, in whatever form, would be much appreciated. And of course, as our Spring 2011 gets underway, we hope to see you soon!

—Your friends at The Sanctuary for Independent Media

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About The Sanctuary

We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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