“Pay it Forward” Campaign to ‘burn the mortgage’ on the Sanctuary campus!

We kicked off our Pay it Forward campaign on April 21, 2023 with an amazing concert with Taina Asili & Eljuri, and a talk by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! More than 100 people came out to dance, and share food and conversation in celebration! We toasted to the contributions and accomplishments of Steve Pierce, and heard from so many people how the Sanctuary has been, and continues to be a platform for people to share their stories and take action towards a just future.

During the weekend, we reminded everyone that thanks to Steve’s leadership, we’re moving steadily towards our $25,000 goal to pay off the mortgage for our entire Sanctuary campus! This includes four buildings — the Sanctuary with presentation venue, live production, radio and video studios; NATURE Lab with a level-1 Biology Laboratory and Peoples Health Sanctuary, the NATURE Lab Residency House, the Carriage House, plus Collard City Growers Gardens’ four lots and our outdoor community presentation space Freedom Square!

In our first two days we raised more than $15,000 – a testament to our collective belief in the important and bright future of the Sanctuary!

We’re already back to work preparing for the opening of Collard City Growers, summer residencies, more Eco-Art trail programming, and Freedom Fest! We’re more than half way to our fundraising goal, and your contribution, of any size, would greatly impact our organization by helping us move into the future with a new Executive Director fully debt free! Can you help us celebrate being debt free by Freedom Fest? You can track our progress below, make a contribution, and share your Sanctuary story with friends to help us reach our goal!

Sanctuary Campus Fundraiser: Help us reach our goal of $25,000!

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Pay It Forward!

Freedom Fest 2023


Pay it Forward” with a gift to help ‘burn the mortgage’ on the Sanctuary’s campus! 
•Dreamer $5000+
•Idealist $2500+
•Visionary $1000+
•Revolutionary $500+
•Radical $250+
•Rebel $100+
•Ally -Anything you can afford

The Sanctuary’s IndyMedia Roots: Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center

Did you know? A group of independent media makers met together from the years of 2000 to 2005 as the Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center, in places around town including the Harriet Tubman Peace Room at the Troy YWCA. We were part of the Independent Media movement, which had over 150 groups from around the world.

We produced several videos during that time, including the IndyMedia War & Peace Trilogy, which included “Independent Media in a Time of War,” created after we invited Amy Goodman to visit Troy to feature her new book. As a collective, we recorded her speech. and then gathered together to incorporate media footage of the war to illustrate Amy’s inspirational words. Amy distributed many copies as she gave book talks around the world, which gave us royalties: this money allowed us to rent and eventually buy this old church from local community organizer Russell Ziemba. Check out Independent Media in a Time of War, which planted the seeds for The Sanctuary for Independent Media!

In 2005, we immediately began to transform this abandoned space, which in its roots a century earlier was a Lutheran Church. Originally thinking that this would offer us a place for production, we quickly realized that this space offered the much-needed opportunity to generate a community around anti-war events and screenings. There were no places around focusing on making and showing independent media dedicated to anti-war and justice networks. Our roots were dedicated to a non-commercial model for arts and culture!

A collective of founders met to strategize, and named our new home The Sanctuary for Independent Media. After hours of engaged discussions reviewing diverse non-hierarchical models for organizing, we came to realize that becoming a non-profit was critical for applying for grants. Rather than starting a new one, we resuscitated an independent media arts organization that several of us had been engaged in as part of the early video art scene: New York Media Alliance.

After years of representing a network of independent media arts organizations across New York State (who connected before the internet!) for creative support and advocacy, NYMA had recently gone dormant. We took up the 501(c)(3) with New York Media Alliance, to support our long-term sustainability, while still embracing our non-hierarchical philosophies for community-engaged participatory art and action, media democracy and independent journalism.

The Hudson Mohawk IndyMedia collective was still active during the first several years at the Sanctuary. There are almost no IndyMedia groups left, with only a few surviving organizations which still offer independent media platforms for progressive community building.


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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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