Spring 2020 Newsletter
Stained Glass Fundraiser
Pooling their resources, 120 years ago congregants of the First English Lutheran Church of Troy constructed the building that now houses The Sanctuary for Independent Media. We are so grateful for the love and attention that they invested here–it’s once again time for those who care about this space to invest in it. Can you help us save our stained glass windows?
Whatever it is you love about the Sanctuary—the music, films, speakers, youth programming, WOOC 105.3 FM, NATURE Lab, Collard City Growers, or even the relationships you’ve built here—this building has made it possible. The Sanctuary’s stained glass windows quietly shape our atmosphere with warm natural light even as they are falling apart.
We’ve needed to fix these windows since the Sanctuary’s founding. Thanks to the New York State Council on the Arts, we now have the opportunity to do it. They’ve granted us half of the necessary funding, we need your help to raise the remaining $30,000. Can you help? Please consider making a contribution that is personally significant to you.
Investment on our 6th Avenue Block
As renovation work is underway on the new NATURE Lab Urban Environmental Education Center, our program curriculum continues to evolve. Listening to our community about NATURE Lab’s focus on environmental health has taught us to broaden our understanding. In addition to providing tools and education to fight climate change and to test water, soil, and air quality, we’re exploring the impact of trauma, and beginning to provide infrastructure for health literacy and advocacy. The latest development is our Health Autonomy Clinic.
NATURE Lab has evolved in exciting ways since it was born in 2013 with a National Endowment for the Arts grant that brought bio-artists who work with living materials to the Sanctuary. Over the past seven years, NATURE Lab has begun offering environmental science education, producing ongoing radio content, building a wet lab and living/learning infrastructure, all while developing a reputation as an international hub for this groundbreaking field of bio-art. Our season opening event, FEMeeting 2020, will bring together visionary women from all over the world who are carrying out art and science projects. The cross-pollination of arts, media, and science has become the crux of our work at a moment of withering federal attacks. With your help, the increased pressure and support just makes us stronger.
Health Autonomy Clinic
Community members shared crucial feedback and we listened: a community science center without a space dedicated to trauma and health would not respond to the needs of the neighborhood. Acting on this need, the NATURE Lab Health Autonomy Clinic was born.
The NATURE Lab Health Autonomy Clinic brings together teachers, parents, health practitioners including doctors, nurses, end-of-life caregivers and home health aides, and others with a common interest in health justice. We believe health and care must include what happens outside the clinic. Health lives in our bodies and communities—in our sense of joy, connectedness, holding our own tools to care for each other, the air we breath and the soil we eat from. The goal is not to replicate a clinic but rather explore and supplement our abilities to care for each other.
Why health autonomy? Autonomy is not self-reliance, it is building support systems that are deeply connected to others. Just as community science practiced in NATURE Lab tells people they too can investigate and find solutions to environmental issues without being a “scientist,” we know people have a long history in playing the same role in their health. Establishing a home in the science center, we seek to exchange health practices and knowledge, and build networks of community health and literacy.
Want to join in?
Email [email protected] or just come to our upcoming Health Autonomy workshops!
Behind the Scenes
It takes scores of people to drive the programming at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, and most of them are volunteers. We’re especially grateful to all the student interns–from schools around the country and as far away as Canada–who help out in myriad ways. For example, the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity at Rensselaer has partnered with us for years, always on call to deploy teams of students for work parties when we need them most. We appreciate the support!
Hudson Mohawk Radio Network Multiplies
Slowly but surely, our original, collaborative radio production efforts continue to grow!
Our weeknight 7-10 PM Jazz Sanctuary program just celebrated its second anniversary of presenting 100 years of America’s classical music–with a heavy emphasis on all things local, including concert listings, interviews and featured sounds. Jazz Sanctuary is co-produced by, and can be heard live on, WOOC 105.3 FM Troy and WOOS 98.9 FM Schenectady–and streamed live at www.MediaSanctuary.org (where there’s also a two week archive of shows).
Every weekday the volunteer producers of the Hudson Mohawk Magazine produce an hour of original content covering the culture and politics of the Capital Region, broadcast several times a day on WOOC 105.3 FM Troy, WOOS 98.9 FM Schenectady, WOOA 106.9 FM Albany plus streamed and on demand at www.MediaSanctuary.org and on a Soundcloud podcast feed.
There’s a wide range of programming on the Hudson Mohawk Magazine. One staple is local news and public affairs (such as our coverage of the anti-war rally in Albany’s Townsend Park earlier this year, pictured below).
We also bring a wide variety of guests into our studios, ranging from well-known figures to just plain folks. A highlight was the visit last fall of Troy Fire Chief Eric J. McMahon, who was interviewed by a participant in the youth media workshop program we’re running in cooperation with Troy Prep High School.
Other stations participating in the Hudson Mohawk Radio Network include WCAA 107.3 FM Albany and WGXC 90.7 FM Accra/Catskill/Hudson! We expect their ranks to grow as time goes on!
These are all volunteer efforts; let us know if you’d like to get involved.
Igor Vamos, also known as Mike Bonanno, is from the group of creative activist media ninjas called “The Yes Men.” He is also a Sanctuary board member and Guggenheim-award winning artist.