These photos and a hundred more are part of the DEC•ADE show in the Underground Gallery that celebrated 10 years at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. On display from April 2 through December 17, 2016.
A quiet moment in a space that has hosted overflow crowds for a wide variety of events, ranging from talks, screenings and performances to community gatherings of various kinds. The mission of the Sanctuary is to use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of expression.
Among the many writers who have passed through, Jeremy Scahill took time to discuss his bestseller “Dirty Wars” in May 2013 on the eve of President Obama’s drone and counterterror policy speech. Others have included Robert King of the Angola 3, author Chris Hedges, former Weather Underground members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and many more.
The outdoor art stage at Freedom Square, built by community members working with artist Isiaah Zagar in summer 2013, is the site of concerts and events that have vastly increased neighborhood engagement. The July 2013 performance by Ethiopia’s Krar Collective was a magnet for local youths–free food, music and art activities are drawing diverse audiences from around the region.
Our presentation of Iraqi American artist Wafaa Bilal and his anti-war installation “Virtual Jihadi” in March 2008 brought protests and counter-protests to 6th Avenue, followed by city action that shuttered the Sanctuary forcing a month-long series on art, freedom and democracy to other venues. Extraordinary community support helped us re-open, with anti-war and social justice programming intact.
A neighborhood participant in a workshop led by visiting bio artist Brandon Ballengée in July 2015 rescues a fish from the toxic Hudson. Arts and education activities have expanded from our Be The Media! series to include hands-on NATURE Lab programs exploring Hudson River ecosystems and farming the
North Troy urban environment, and the annual five-week intensive Uptown Summer program.
The visit by Zimbabwean superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and his legendary guitar band in April 2013 was a highlight in an ongoing program of musical and cultural events that has brought some of the world’s most talented artists to the Capital Region. Our documentation of the performances has created a large global audience for Sanctuary TV.
Neighbors have helped make our Collard City Gardens, reclaimed from a vacant lot in 2011 and expanded in 2013 and 2014, a vital contribution to the local streetscape. Vegetable and perennial gardens now cover the block, providing a bounty for Kitchen Sanctuary volunteers who cook for our community events.
Uptown Summer 2015 participants focused on radio production in preparation for the launch of community radio station WOOC 105.3 FM, which began broadcasting just in time for our tenth anniversary. Years in the making, we hope the all-volunteer operation will seamlessly integrate media-making and community development to provide comprehensive local programming with an international perspective.