"The Sanctuary for Independent Media: Celebrating a Decade of Creative Resistance"

“The Sanctuary for Independent Media: Celebrating a Decade of Creative Resistance” invites photographers to share their personal highlights shot over ten years.

This reflective retrospective celebrates a decade of art and action! Photographers capture the struggles, passions and creative powers of people of all walks of life, joining together to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of expression.  

Photographers include Jon Flanders, Brenda Ann Kenneally and others (TBA). The photos explore themes of the Sanctuary:

  • Creative excellence: art and music
  • People power
  • Urban renewal and history of place

Celebrate the Sanctuary’s history in North Troy, a decade featuring moments of artistic innovation and grassroots sparks of creative place-making.


Eco-Liberation Quartet

Eco-Liberation Quartet 

Craig Harris has performed with a veritable who’s who of the jazz world’s most important figures, including Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Lester Bowie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Jaki Byard, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams and many more.  His own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of African-American musical expression.

L. Mixhashawn Rozie is a prolific saxophonist who has performed and recorded with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Ravi Coltrane, Vernon Reid, Ntozaki Shange and Reggie Workman to name but a few. Mixashawn is best known for the epic “Afro-Algonquin” group which he founded in the late 1970s with Coltrane’s drummer Rashid Ali. 

Bhinda Keidel is an immaculate composer and saxophonist. She graduated from Oberlin conservatory and studied under Salim Washington at Brooklyn College during her graduate school education. She has recorded and performed with Fred Ho, Frank Lacey, James Carter, and a host of New York’s greatest. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches the music she loves.

Benjamin Barson is a baritone saxophonist, writer, producer, and activist. He has played with diverse cross-section of leading New York City jazz musicians, such as Fred Ho, Arturo O’Farrill, and Frank Lacy, and has performed at New York’s premiere musical institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center. He regularly performs at and curates the music program for the iconic Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. 

Seth Tobocman is a radical comic book artist best known for the political anthology World War 3 Illustrated, which he started in 1979 with fellow artist Peter Kuper. He lives in New York City, where he teaches cartooning and illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

Susan Deer Cloud is a mixed lineage Catskill Indian of Mohawk/Blackfoot & some Seneca lineage.  Deer Cloud’s life is dedicated to her creative work, editing and getting out the voices of sister and brother writers (especially indigenous writers), mentoring younger poets, teaching, and sharing her stories and poetry with others.  The guiding symbol for her life is the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Sky Woman Creation Story and the Iroquois Confederacy’s Tree of Peace; for this reason whatever she says and does takes into account the next seven generations to come.  



Theresa Shoatz

Theresa Shoatz discusses the fight against the expansion of the prison industrial complex (PIC), and the effect that the PIC has on young people, working-class families and communities of color. She is an anti-prison industrial complex activist involved with Decarcerate PA and many other groups. Her father is Russell Shoatz, a Black Panther Party member and co-founder of the Black Unity Council, has been in jail for 40 years. He has spent 30 of those years in solitary confinement. She has been organizing about issues of prisoners’ rights since a young age.


Colia Clark

Colia Clark is a long time activist and educator, and a veteran of the civil rights movement. Her work has included activism in the fields of women’s rights and workers’ rights, as well as activism and advocacy for homeless people and youth. Most recently, she has worked with the Cynthia McKinney for President campaign with “Power to the People.” Clark is a chair of Grandmothers for the Release of Mumia Abu Jamal. During the Civil Rights era, Colia Clark was a Special Assistant to Medgar W. Evers, field Secretary for the NAACP. Clark later joined the Mississippi Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) doing voter registration work. Ms. Clark has recently been active in humanitarian relief efforts for Haiti. She believes that the rebuilding of Haiti starts with the removal of occupying troops from the UN and the US.


Russell Maroon Shoatz

Russell Maroon Shoatz is a political prisoner who has been held  for more than thirty years, including two decades in solitary confinement. He was active as a leader in the Black Liberation Movement in Philadelphia, both above and underground. His successful escapes from maximum-security prisons earned him the title “Maroon.” This is the first published collection of his accumulated written works, and also includes new essays written expressly for this volume.

Despite the torture and deprivation that has been everyday life for Maroon over the last several decades, he has remained at the cutting edge of history through his writings. His work is innovative and revolutionary on multiple levels:
• His self-critical and fresh retelling of the Black liberation struggle in the U.S. includes many practical and theoretical insights; 
• His analysis of the prison system, particularly in relation to capitalism, imperialism, and the drug war, takes us far beyond the recently-popular analysis of the Prison Industrial Complex, contained in books such as The New Jim Crow
• His historical research and writings on Maroon communities throughout the Americas, drawing many insights from these societies in the fields of political and military revolutionary strategy are unprecedented; and finally
• His sharp and profound understanding of the current historical moment, with clear proposals for how to move forward embracing new political concepts and practices (including but not limited to eco-socialism, matriarchy and eco-feminism, food security, prefiguration and the Occupy Wall Street movement) provide cutting-edge challenges for today’s movements for social change.


Oliver Mtukudzi


Oliver Mtukudzi is a truly great guitarist, vocalist, performer and composer. He must be one of the few people to have a beat named after him: ’tuku’! Zimbabwe’s pride, most successful artist and national treasure, Oliver Mtukudzi is gifted with a deep and gusty voice plus a talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and struggles of his people. ‘Tuku’ as he is known, began performing in 1977 and has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond, all the while incorporating elements of different musical traditions. A member of Zimbabwe’s Kore Kore tribe, he sings in the nation’s dominant Shona language as well as Ndebele and English. 

Tuku’s music is heavily influenced by a humanist chimurenga ethos, which, in turn, is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His music also incorporates South Africa mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style jit, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan. One of Tuku’s biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Tuku “a treasure,” and recorded a cover of “Hear me Lord” but also credits Tuku as the inspiration for the song “One Belief Away” on her album Fundamental.

Tuku (along with Angelique Kidjo, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo) is one of the most successful African recording artists in North America, having sold hundreds of thousand of records on Putumayo, Heads Up/Telarc and Sheer Sound. Tuku is an alumni of Acoustic Africa II (2011 edition) and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, focusing on Young People’s Development and HIV and AIDS Prevention.


Louis Massiah

Louis Massiah is a documentary filmmaker and the founder/director of Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts center that provides training and equipment access to community groups and the independent film/video community. His innovative approach to documentary filmmaking and community media have earned him numerous honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” 1996-2001, two Rockefeller/Tribeca fellowships and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. 

His award-winning documentaries, The Bombing of Osage Avenue, W.E.B. Du Bois – A Biography in in Four Voices, two films for the Eyes on the Prize II series, and A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown, have been broadcast on PBS and screened at festivals and museums throughout the US, Europe and Africa. In 2011, he was commissioned to create a five channel permanent video installation for the National Park Service’s President’s House historic site.

Currently, Massiah is executive producing two major community oral history projects, the Precious Places Community History project, a video project designed by Massiah and composed of 73 short documentaries produced collaboratively with neighborhood organizations in Philadelphia and Chester, PA, as well as Camden, NJ.

A graduate of Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massiah has been a guest artist and visiting faculty member at Swarthmore College, Temple, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Louis Massiah, along with the Be the Media! artist/educators, have designed a workshop for community groups serious about creating something! During the workshop, we created a plan for a short video which shines light on your powers. Historians, media makers and musicians interested in helping to facilitate these projects are welcome!


Filmmaker Angad Bhalla

Angad Bhalla created the documentary film, “Herman’s House,” that explores the injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art. There will be a full scale model of a solitary confinement cell on display.

 The film tells the story of Herman Joshua Wallace, who has spent the past 40 years in solitary confinement at Louisiana’s notorious Angola Prison Farm. At the urging of artist Jackie Sumell, Wallace, working by letter and occasionally phone, designs his own post-prison house. The film follows their unique creative partnership, as Sumell builds an exhibit based on Herman’s story, complete with plans for the house and a full-scale model of the cell. The story takes a turn when Sumell sets out to build a bricks-and-mortar structure for Herman and authorities decide to review his case. Panelists Scott Paltrowitc, Maria Pagano, Bob White, Five Mualammik, as well as Angad Bhalla himself came to discuss the film and the arbitrary, inhumane and unsafe use of solitary confinement in New York State after the screening.



Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole

Cedric Watson and Bijou CreoleLouisiana musician, brought their passionate music of French and Spanish dances alongside the spiritual rhythms of the Congo tribes of West Africa to North Troy! One of the most promising talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole, and Louisianan Zydeco music, Cedric Watson is a four-time Grammy nominee from San Felipe, Texas, who made his first public appearance in Houston at age 19. 

 As a singer, fiddler, accordionist, and songwriter, Watson is a diverse young artist whose repertoire ranges from old Creole melodies to more modern Cajun and Zydeco songs. The band also draws on various musical styles, often incorporating bluegrass or string band numbers into performance sets. Additionally, Watson composes almost all of the band’s songs on his own accordion. The band’s 2009 release L’ésprit Créole received a Grammy nomination and featured entirely original material. In 2011, Watson and the band released their self-produced album Le Soleil est Levé. The album features Watson’s special mix of Caribbean and Cajun flavor, crossing international barriers while delivering songs of joy.

Drawing on their mixed cultural heritage and varied musical backgrounds, Watson & Bijou Creole combine Spanish, African, French, and Native American sounds to make a unique tapestry during their performance which “runs the gamut” of Cajun and Creole music.


Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives

Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives began delivering each other’s babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. Gaskin and the other women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and, with their families, founded an entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. There, they grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books, and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed the genertations approach to childbirth. 40 years ago, Ina May led the charge away from isolatd hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, as nearly 1/3 of all US babies are born via C-section, Gaskin fights to preserve her community’s hard-won knowledge. With incredible access to the midwives’ archival video collection, the film “Birth Story,” which was presented at The Sanctuary, not only captures the unique sisterhood at The Farm Clinic – from its heyday into the present – but shows childbirth the way most people have never seen it – unadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring.


Natalie Jeremijenko

Natalie Jeremijenko is an Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department at New York University and directs the Environmental Health Clinic. She is also affiliated with the Computer Science Department and the Environmental Studies Program. Jeremijenko was named one of the most influential women in technology in 2011 as well as one of the inaugural top young innovators by MIT Technology Review. She has degrees in biochemistry, engineering, neuroscience, and History and Philosophy of Science. Natalie Jeremijenko has lead the Sanctuary for Independent Media and the surrounding community in building a public art sculpture, The Butterfly Bridge. The bridge demonstrates possibilities of re-imagining our urban infrastructure and guides us towards a bio-diverse ecosystem- one upon which our own health critically depends. A Moth Cinema has been integrated into the structure, revealing the nightly dramas of love, survival, and the fluttering lifestyles of the dark and mysterious. This art installation reveals the fragility of humans’ and insects’ eco systems, as part of an Environmental Clinic for ‘curing’ our local ecologies through citizen participation. 


Krar Collective

Krar Collective consist of Temesegen Zeleke on the krar, which is a 5 or 6 stringed harp, singer Genet Asefa, and drummer Grum Begashaw. The trio has been dubbed “The White Stripes of Ethiopia” for their minimalist rocky sound. They base their repertoire on traditional Ethiopian songs, but have created a unique style with timeless appeal. Their vocals are full of collective cadences and long solo poems; musical stops and starts create an organic syncopation, and the krar can alternate from being lead to rhythm instrument. The ancient 6-stringed krar lyre dates far back into Ethiopian history. An important part of the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition, the krar is steeped in the practice of wandering troubadours performing in cafes around the country, while legend has it that the instrument itself descends from King David’s lyre. The group performed for the Sanctuary for Independent Media in July of 2013. 


DJ Trumastr

DJ Trumastr is and international touring DJ based out of Albany, New York. He is infused with a rich knowledge of music and is a creative innovator who spins infectious blends that transcend both cultural and generational boundries. DJ Trumastr is mostly inspired by classic sounds of Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, R&B and Soul, but his skills on the deck knowns no limit. The DJ can rock any stage, from small private events to any big party! He rocked Freedom Square in August of 2013 at an outdoor event for the Sanctuary, and ultimately wowed he community!




S.K.A.T.E, which stands for Stop Killing All The Entertainment, is a music group consists of vocalists, emcees, dancing, and more! When it comes to sound, they are a diverse sounding group that keeps their music clean and tight. The Hip-Hop ensemble is dedicated to using their lyrics and music to creat positive messages for lovers of the Hip-Hop genre. They played at Freedom square at the 2011 July Independence Day Celebration, and immediately wowed their audience!



Baam Bada

Baam Bada is a band known for their experimental fusion of Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music. Although they originate in New York, Baam Bada has global appeal and features seasoned lyricists Decora and Freeflowin. The diverse imagination of their producer Nico Marchese, gives Baam Bada an eclectic meld of energized music. Nico Marchese’s French Electro influence combined with the Caribbean and Latin sounds of Baam Bada, delivers a refreshingly unorthodox listening experience. The group came to The Sanctuary for Independent Media in August of 2013 for an outside performance at Freedom Square.


Rebel Diaz

Rebel Diaz performed at The Sanctuary for Independent Media over the summer at an outdoor concert at Freedom Square, the Sanctuary’s outside stage. Rebel Diaz is a bilingual hip hop crew with influences ranging from Dirty South bounce to South American folk. They combine classic boom bap tradition with Hip-Hop’s global impact. The group has had recent tours in Europe and Latin America and have shared their stage during performances with artists such as Common, Mos Def, and Public Enemy. With roots in Chicago and now based in the South Bronx of New York, Rebel Diaz has also piqued the interest of the academic community with their poignant social commentary and energetic performances. Over the years, they have performed at dozens of universities and colleges, facilitating workshops, and speaking on panels and national conferences. They are extremely influencial people through the genre of Hip-Hop. 


Filmmaker Brendan Fay

Brendan Fay is the filmmaker behind the great documentary that was presented at The Sanctuary, “Taking a Chance on God.” The film follows the extraordinary life of 87-year-old John McNeill, from Buffalo, NY, and his boyhood through his experiences as a POW in Nazi Germany, his LeMoyne College years as Jesuit professor and Vietnam peace promoter, leading gay rights advocate, and loving partner of 47 years to Charles Chiarelli. McNeill, author, founder of the LGBT Catholic group Dignity/New York, and a gay community leader during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, refused to be silenced by the Vatican on LGBT issues. This resulted in his expulsion from the Jesuit priesthood.

Fay is a regular presenter on spirituality and justice at colleges, conferences, and retreats and had been part of many panels and theology forums. His speaks of all different themes ranging within LGBT activism within the Catholic community, the global movement for marriage equality, and Irish LGBT history and immigration in a time of AIDS. Fay is often invited to speak on his friendship with Fr. Mychal Judge OFM who died in the tragedy of 9/11. His presentations have included the history of Irish religious women such as Civil War to Civil Rights: Sisters of Compassion and the Nun of Kenmare, Faith as Help of Hindrance for the LGBT Community, and Marriage Equality: A Grassroots and Global Rights Movement. Brendan Fay is the Director, Writer, and Producer of the film “Taking a Chance on God.” Brendan holds a BA in Theology and Sociology from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland and a MA in Theology from St. John’s University in New York.


Filmmakers Penny Lane & Brian L. Frye

Penny Lane & Brian L. Frye came to the Sanctuary in May of 2013 to present their film “Our Nixon,” an all-archival documentary presenting rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before. The documentary begins in 1969. While many young people are demonstrating or dropping out, we meet three squares who have just started new jobs at the White House. Their loss of innocence and their betrayal by the President is the story of “Our Nixon.” Their story sheds new light on larger historical themes at a key moment in American history when the age of Aquarius gave way to the age of Nixon.

Penny Lane, director and co-producer of the film, has been making award-winning documentaries and essay films since 2002. Her films have screened at Rotterdam, AFI FEST, The Media That Matters Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, and many other venues. She has been awarded grants from Cinereach, TFI Documentary Fund, LEF Foundation, and other prestigious grants. “Our Nixon” was her first feature documentary, which she was awarded several grants and a residency at Yaddo. She is a Creative Capital grantee and was named one of the Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012.

Brian L. Frye, the co-producer for “Our Nixon,” is a filmmaker, writer, and professor of law. HIs films explore relationships between history, society, and cinema through archival and amateur images. Frye’s films have been shown by the Whitney Museum (which are now in the museum’s permanent collection), New York Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, and many others. His writing on film has appeared in October, The New Republic, Film Comment and the Village Voice. A Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky, his legal scholarship concerns interactions between the law and the arts, focusing on issues relating to nonprofit organizations and intellectual property. Brian is a Creative Capital grantee and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012.


Jeremy Scahill

Jeremy Scahill is the National Security Correspondent for the Nation magazine and the author of the New York Times best-seller “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” (Nation Books, 2007). While on his book tour for his most recent book “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield,” which also made it to the New York Times Best Seller List, he stopped to speak at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in May of 2013. Scahill is also the writer, alog with David Riker, and producer of the documentary film for “Dirty Wars” which did not release until June 2013. Throughout “Dirty Wars,” Scahill took his audience inside America’s new covert wars. The foot soldiers in these battles operate globally and inside the United States with orders from the White House to do whatever is necessary to hunt down, capture, or kill individuals designated by the president as enemies. “Dirty Wars” follows the consequences of the declaration that “the world is a battlefield,” as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond, Scahill reports from the frontlines in this high-stakes investigation and explores the depths of America’s global killing machine. Scahill is an intense journalist who got his start on the independently syndicated daily news show Democracy Now!



M.A.KU. Sound System

M.A.K.U. Sound System is an NYC based Afro-Columbian band infected with jazz, rock, hip hop, punk and Columbian folkloric rhythms. The band diverts from tradition by inflecting their sound with decidedly more modern synthesizers and muscial influences ranging within all different types of genres. The 8-musician ensemble was born in Queens in 2010 and uses an array of instruments in heavy rotation on stage and in the studio, including drums, Colombian drums, guitar, badd, vocals, horn, clarinet, trombone, traditional Colombian instruments such as maracas, gaitas, and synthesizers- to name a few. Most of the band members hail from the country of Colombia but currently live and work in New York City. Each of the musicians adds his or her own interpretations and experiences to every song, both musically and lyrically. The band performed at the first Freedom Festival at Freedom Square in June 2013 for The Sanctuary for Independent Media.