Fall 2014 Newsletter
Celebrating Art & Environmental Justice in North Troy
Uptown Summer ’14 Brought Youths, Artists, Activists, Politicians Together
We just completed our fourth season of Uptown Summer, a five-week series of arts and sustainability activities for young people! Participating youths, artists, historians, urban designers, community organizers, journalists, educators, interns, gardeners and chefs worked together through our NATURE Lab program to spread the word about environmental justice in North Troy and beyond!
The great turnout included local community members as well as visitors from around the country and world–among them Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia and Deputy Mayor Peter Ryan, City Council members Lynn Kopka, Erin Sullivan-Teta, Jim Gordon, Anastasia Robertson and Dean Bodnar, Assemblyman John McDonald and Congressman Paul Tonko.
Messages of Hope
The heros at Troy Alley Action joined forces with a crew of Sanctuary volunteers and our summer youth employees to paint an ambitious mural on the front of The Sanctuary for Independent Media, integrating inspirational quotes and vivid images representing creativity, social justice, sustainability and freedom of expression.
Mapping our Community
North Troy teens used poetry and painting, media and journalism, photography and needle-point to create maps tracing the environmental challenges they face, including violence and health problems, urban brown-fields and global warming. Their work is now being compiled into a series of map zines.
The return of Debo Band was one of the summer’s highlights–an extraordinary orchestra channeling the golden years of Ethiopian pop music into an exuberantly original fusion sound! The first band to headline at Freedom Square, back when the stage was a modest parking lot, they were thrilled to see the transformation taking place there.
Like most of the summer events, Debo Band’s performance was immortalized on video–soon to be released on Sanctuary TV thanks to the efforts of Youth Media Sanctuary and our Video Ninja crew!
Eco-Actions on Abandoned Lots
This summer, we worked together to transform toxic places into green spaces with diverse “eco-actions.” Oliver Kellhammer planted a “botanical intervention” to bio-remediate devastated toxic soil identified during an investigation of Troy’s brownfields. Brandon Ballengée returned for an “eco-displacement”—relocating fish from the Hudson’s toxic waters to an aquarium decorated with objects gathered from the river banks. Also on the banks of the Hudson, local youths placed painted art signs to help keep citizens safe, warning against swimming and eating the fish. Then, community members joined Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping to bless the bees transported from a hive at CAC Woodside in South Troy to their new home in the Collard City Growers perennial garden!
We’re building a great relationship with the Chefs’ Consortium to help develop awareness of food justice issues among folks in North Central Troy. Dedicated to sharing the joys of regional foods, local chefs provided delicious and healthy meals for all the participants in Uptown Summer!
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