February 15, 2019

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Graphic of text "Spring '19 Newsletter"
Three panes of artwork and photography that celebrate women.

Spirit of the Suffragettes

Join us at Freedom Square, our outdoor venue in North Troy, to celebrate 101 years of women being able to vote in New York State – two years before the U.S. passed the 19th Amendment! Our Spring ’19 season launches Spirit of the Suffragettes, a summer concert series and community resource fair showcasing women and gender non-conforming musicians from the international to the local.

Women still struggle for equity in their everyday lives, especially low-income women, single moms, and women of color. Spirit of the Suffragettes will serve local women in a place where two thirds of children younger than 12 live below the poverty line. Diverse local organizations will share access to information and tools to support women, who bear a heavy load caring for families against all odds.

Spirit of the Suffragettes begins on Saturday June 8th with our 7th annual Freedom Festival, featuring jazz legend Fay Victor and Mutations for Justice playing protest music as a fitting and therapeutic experience for our times. We turn up the heat with six summer concerts, every Tuesday eve July 16th through August 20th! Then we wrap up the Spirit of the Suffragettes concert series on September 21st with our 9th annual StoryHarvest celebration.

Our history books omit the story of the powerful influence of Seneca Mothers of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ (the Iroquois Confederacy), whose matriarchal society inspired the early suffragettes in their fight for gender equality. We hear little of the abolitionist roots of the suffrage movement. And few are aware of the hunger strikes, forced feeding, and brutal beatings that female picketers endured during sustained protests in Washington, D.C.

We still have much to learn from the activism of the suffragettes. Our intent is to uplift diverse voices of women of color, low-/no-income women, single moms, gender/sexuality non-conforming persons, and those of varying ability, to explore gender inequities throughout history and imagine a more just future.

This project is made possible by the generosity of people like you and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Planting Seeds with NATURE Lab

With your help and with support from grantors like the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, McCarthy Charities, Howard and Bush Foundation, and the B’nai B’rith Gideon Foundation of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, we’ve raised the funds needed to build the new NATURE Lab Urban Environmental Education Center! From our hearts to yours, thank you.

The new facilities will be located at 3319 6th Avenue, a long-abandoned building primed to breathe new life into our block. Our campus is just one block from the Hudson River Estuary, where industrial growth has left a legacy of toxic soil and water. NATURE Lab is a program of radical hope – where art fuses with science, technology and media to blaze new paths for a healthier, more sustainable world.

Last year our growing collective of science mentors started offering free after school workshops. We’ve been partnering since the fall with Doyle Middle School and the Troy Cultural Alliance – our NATURE Lab workshops have bloomed into a vitally engaging series, revealing the science behind our every day lives. Most of our mentors are women and people of color – both underrepresented in STEM industries – demonstrating to our young participants that scientists come in many shapes and colors and from neighborhoods just like North Central Troy. Our participatory curriculum is a prototype for the activities we will host when our new NATURE Lab home is complete.

NATURE Lab design charette, summer 2018 

Starting during Uptown Summer 2018, we’ve hosted a series of community think tanks to work with neighbors to envision the design of the new NATURE Lab Center as well as its future programming. This coming summer, our Uptown Summer youth will move forward as environmental stewards, supporting the Spirit of the Suffragettes concert series and resource fair as we explore the legacy of gender, racial, economic and ecological biases embedded into our post-industrial urban environment.

NATURE Lab makes science education beautiful, tangible, and inspiring! Join us!

First Year Anniversary of Jazz Sanctuary

Jazz Sanctuary just turned one – and we’re celebrating by expanding our radio coverage!

Tune in 7-10pm weeknights to WOOC 105.3 FM in Troy, and now sister station WOOS 98.9 FM in Schenectady, to hear the best of 100 years of America’s classical music–with a heavy emphasis on all things local, including concert listings, interviews and featured sounds.

We’re also streaming live!

Sustaining The Sanctuary! 

Spring is on the way, a time of hope and renewal.  And, in that spirit, it’s also the time when we ask our supporters to sign up as Sanctuary Sustainers! This
spring we’re aiming to double the number of sustainers.

We’ve been chugging along for almost 14 years now, doing what we do fueled by a combination of small financial contributions and volunteer labor. Grants play a role as well,  but it’s support from individuals that brought us here and makes everything work.  

It’s just common sense to maintain a diverse income stream, trying to avoid overreliance on any one revenue source. The loss of one large grant, as we recently experienced, can be enough to turn the world upside down! Thankfully, individuals responded to our call and filled in the funding gap. 

It doesn’t take a crisis to know that for the Sanctuary to maintain a healthy organizational ecosystem, one that enables independence and resilience, we need broad-based support from as many people as possible, in whatever form and at whatever levels are comfortable. If you’re already a Sanctuary Sustainer, thank you! If not, please join us! We’re all in this together…

“The Sanctuary focuses on helping people learn how to think for themselves and I think that’s really important. It makes me feel good to be a Sustainer because I feel like I’m really investing in the future.”


Barb Nelson is the Executive Director of TAP Inc. She is an architect, community mural artist, and co-founder of Troy Alley Action.

Join Barb in her support of the Sanctuary by signing up to contribute $10 to the Sanctuary each month.

Sustain The Sanctuary

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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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