Photos of Uptown Summer 2018 by Catherine Rafferty

From monitoring eel populations in the Poestenkill, to painting “poetic crosswalks,” to leading a community design process, the eighth season of Uptown Summer was filled with remarkable projects and exciting workshops. In partnership with the Rensselaer County Summer Youth Employment and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Justice programs, the Sanctuary offered local teens a chance to learn hands-on skills while enriching their community. These experiences are captured in this extensive photo collection now on display in our Underground Gallery.  

Catherine Rafferty photographed the images in this exhibition during her internship at The Sanctuary for Independent Media’s Uptown Summer 2018 program. Born in Albany, she is working toward a BFA in Photojournalism at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is currently the photography editor for Reporter Magazine at RIT.

Catherine’s interests are in telling stories of environmental justice, gentrification, immigration and health care. Her focus is on understanding communities and social relationships.

More about this exhibition:

The youth in these photos focused sharing stories of environmental justice and resilience. Working alongside scientists, artists, and community leaders, we explored diverse realms including data analysis, seed-saving, and the health of Hudson River fish. The 2018 Uptown Summer crew left their mark on the neighborhood with the new NATURE Lab Environmental Education Center. With the help of the Troy Architecture Project, we’ll be transforming a long-abandoned building in North Troy into a grassroots science resource for the neighborhood. Design ideas generated by the Uptown Summer youth employees and other community members will provide the framework for the project as it moves forward. The building and gardens will house workshop and meeting spaces, a science lab,  a community kitchen, and much more! 

A small army of interns contributed their support this summer, from Concordia University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Skidmore College, the University at Albany, Sage College, and Rensselaer. 

Additional documentation includes audio pieces broadcast on our radio station WOOC 105.3 FM (streaming at, on Sanctuary TV videos (at 

Special thanks to exhibition curator Melissa Mykal Batalin and The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer.

Exhibition Opening 
Wednesday, September 26: 6-7pm

Gallery hours are an hour before, during, and an hour after events or by appointment. 

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