Uptown Summer 2013: Found Art in North Troy

Uptown Summer 2013 featured several free community participatory art project and workshops as part of “Found Art in North Troy,” dedicated to themes of art, food and sustainability. Uptown Summer ’13 was a collaboration between The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Missing Link Street Ministry, Collard City Growers, Troy Bike Rescue. and Rensselaer County Summer Youth Employment Program.

The Uptown Summer youth painted the mural “Out of Many One,” with artist/mentor Marcus Kwame Anderson in collaboration with Troy Alley Action on the corner of Glen and 6th Ave.

They inaugurated “Found Art Trails” with recycled bike wheels along the Sanctuary campus.

The youth participated in a series of public bio-art workshops. “Urban Infrastructure for Non-Humans,” with internationally recognized Bio-artist Natalie Jeremijenko. Jeremijenko, created a public art sculpture “Butterfly Bridge” at the L-Lot in Collard City Growers gardens. The bridge was a re-imagining our urban infrastructure as a bio-diverse ecosystem – one upon which our own health critically depends. 

Bioartist Blaine O’Neill led an interdisciplinary “public lab,” using the scientific method to investigate and think critically and forwardly about our social and environmental surroundings (July 30 – Friday, August 2, 2013). Scientists, increasingly compelled to study “smart” behaviors in lower life forms, use slime mold to solve mazes, anticipate events, and even simulate efficient rail and road networks. We talked about the importance of community in sustainable design and thriving lives, focusing on the social analogy of individual cells coming together to form a complex, intelligent multicellular organism—the network. The youth investigated how cities grow and connect, how the people and life that inhabit them move through these networks, and how the configuration of these networks may affect public health, prosperity, demographics, and mobility.

Slime-Mold Workshop, Part of the “BioArt in the Industrial Wasteland” series, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Project Coordinator: Kathy High. Edited by Kathy High.

North Troy Community Leader Kevin Pryor, came to The Sanctuary for Independent Media with a vision. As part of his “Step It Up, Pull ‘Em Up” campaign, this 30 second spot is designed as a motivational tool.

Directed and edited by: Phill Lawrence; Videotaped by: Darian Henry and Phill Lawrence

Also important to this summer series of activities was a celebration of art and food in the streets, with strategies to cook nutritious meals on a tight budget for large groups of people. The youth participated in “Found Art Gardening” workshops, gathering vegetables for our “Uptown Summer 2013 Lunches” and participating in a series of participatory cooking and community building workshops which provided lunches for 20 days. The cooking workshops, organized by Ellie Markovitch and KitchenSanctuary community volunteers, featured:

  • “Food Science and Safety” Tuesdays: Food Coordinators: Dr. Boone, Anuola Surgick, Strong Me!, www.strongme.org; Kathy High, Jillian Hirsch, Sheila Fitzgerald, Sharon Lastique, Felicia Chandler, Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • “Found Food” Wednesdays: Food Coordinator: Abraham Hmiel/”Food Not Bombs,” Sandy Kershaw Cutler.
  • “Food Justice” Thursdays: Food Coordinators: Gavin Kelley, Ellie Markovitch, Mara Estes, Jonah Vitale-Wolff
  • “Food Forest” Fridays: Food Coordinator: Rebekah Rice, 9 Mile Farm

More about Found Art in North Troy

The “Art in Public Places” grant funded by National Endowment for the Arts helped support this series of public art projects. Earlier this summer, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens creator and artist-in-residence Isaiah Zagar led the community in a two-day workshop to create the Freedom Square Art Stage, an original mural mosaic creating a shimmering backdrop incorporating found material and ceramic tiles crafted by members of community youth and school groups.

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We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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