Sanctuary Board & Staff
Kathy High (Co-founder and NATURE Lab Coordinator), Guggenheim Award winning bio-artist. High is acting department head and professor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was awarded a lab in the Center for Biotech and Interdisciplinary Studies in collaboration with NATURE Lab. She teaches interdisciplinary arts and science courses including “Eco-Chic” and “Queer Ecologies.” High is an artist/educator who collaborates with scientists and others, and considers living systems, animal sentience, and ethical dilemmas of biotechnology and medical industries. She has had prestigious art/science residencies with SymbioticA (2009-10), Finnish Society of Bioart (2013), Coalesce (2016-17), Djerassi Scientific Delirium Madness (2019), DePaolo Lab/ Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutics, UW, Seattle (ongoing). Professor High is the NATURE Lab Coordinator, connecting our local scientists and artists with an international network in the cutting edge field of “Bio-Arts.”
Dan Lyles, co-author of several books exploring the crossroads of mathematics and culture. Lyles is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies Program, which has an emphasis on environmental justice. He is a Co-founder and Vice President of CollectivEffort, a co-working space for creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs of color. In the business of community-building, their vision is to help cities revitalize themselves through the expansion of the creative economy, looking to address larger issues like gentrification, income inequality & the social determinants of health.
Andrew Lynn, arborist and founder of the Troy Bike Rescue. Lynn is a media producer, past Education/Development Manager for Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel and educator at Hudson Valley Community College. Andrew Lynn has offered workshops ranging from “Grafting Fruit Trees” in Collard City Growers to Youth Media Sanctuary’s “Digital Media Lab, “Animation Boot Camp” and “Community Digital Storytelling” in the basement studios of the Sanctuary. He is a leader in Troy, networking alternative transportation, arts and alt music, local food and DIY networks.
Branda Miller (Co-founder and Arts & Education Coordinator) is a media artist and educator, dedicated to art, ecology and community interdisciplinary arts. She is the Arts and Education Coordinator at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, where she has developed numerous media literacy/community arts/youth media and creative place-making projects. She is a Professor of Media Arts at Rensselaer, teaching courses in documentary, art, community and technology, and independent art production. Miller is an Emmy award-winning editor who worked in the media industry of L.A. and N.Y.C., and whose media art works have been screened, exhibited and broadcast nationally and internationally. Branda Miller has three decades of experience in participatory design and praxis, and a history of trans-disciplinary collaborations created to stimulate cultural animation, build community, and create dialogue around freedom of expression and environmental justice.
Elizabeth Press (E.P.) is a freelance media maker and lecturer in the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, teaching classes in digital filmmaking and studio production. Press cut their teeth in journalism as a producer for the independent TV/Radio program, Democracy Now!, and brings the radio expertise and organizing skills honed during that time to their work with Media Alliance. As a videographer, producer and editor, Press worked with BRIC Arts Media, The International Institute for Sustainable Development covering the UN climate negotiations, StreetFilms, GritTV with Laura Flanders and PBS. A Fulbright Scholar, Press has also taught classes at New York University, The New School, Fulton Montgomery Community College, and several after-school and community media centers including at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. E.P. helped bottom-line the launch of our low-power FM station and the daily local news show, The Hudson Mohawk Magazine.
Igor Vamos, internationally known activist and performance artist, founding member of The Yes Men (using the alias Mike Bonanno) and RTmark, and an Associate Professor of Media Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Vamos’ work bridges worlds of environmental activism and performance art. He is also the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, granted for a project that used Global Positioning System (GPS) and other wireless technology to create a new medium with which to “view” his documentary Grounded, about an abandoned military base in Wendover, Utah.
Susan Weinrich (Board Chair), Vice President of Organizational and Community Development at the New York Council of Nonprofits. Susan has 25+ years of experience working with nonprofits as an advisor, teacher and consultant and has been at New York Council of Non-Profits (NYCON) since 2003. NYCON´s members rely on Susan´s expertise to provide them with a wide range of training and technical assistance in areas such as organizational assessment and development, strategic planning, board development, and performance measurement, as well as community needs assessments and program development. Susan’s knowledge of the nonprofit sector comes from her hands-on experience with organizations that provide housing, emergency shelter, and domestic violence services as well as those that offer a range of community economic development programs, including arts organizations and museums.
Sina Basila Hickey, Hudson Mohawk Magazine Coordinator
Melissa Bromley, Development Director
Steve Pierce, Co-founder and Executive Director