Uptown Summer ’17

The 7th annual Uptown Summer goes into action full-swing on July 11th. The Rensselaer County Summer Youth Employment Program has chosen ten local teenagers to work at The Sanctuary for Independent Media this year. Over the span of five weeks, our neighborhood youth become community leaders, environmental stewards, media producers, storytelling artists, scientists, researchers, and local volunteers. Fulfilling these diverse roles, the youth and their mentors will create a multimedia documentary called

“Echoes from Lock One.”

Here are some of the activities/workshops the youth will be involved in this summer:

  • A scrapbook making workshop with incredible North Troy People’s History Museum artist Brenda Ann Kenneally, supported by a NEA Art Works: “Urban Reclamations” artist residency
  • A workshop on Investigative Journalism with Deputy City Editor of Times Union Rob Brill
  • A week-long series of bio-artist workshops with an NEA Art Works: “Urban Reclamations” artist in residency Brandon Ballengee
  • A collage workshop based on the work of painter Thomas Cole with artist and teacher Jillian Hirsch.
  • A composting workshop presented by the remarkable Marisa and Charlie from NYC-based non-profit Earth Matter.

Come support the Sanctuary through a NATURElab fundraiser with food, music, and bio-art!

Come support the youth’s “Echoes from Lock One” documentary in a preview showing at Troy Night Out!

Come see the youth’s product of “Echoes from Lock One” and celebrate’s the youth’s hard work at our end-of-Uptown-Summer Party!



 We’ll explore our deeply rooted connection to the Industrial Revolution and the Erie Canal, specifically at Federal Lock 1. In order to better understand the history of the Hudson River and immediate surroundings, the youth will test the water for antibiotic resistant organisms, experience boat rides, create aquariums for the regional fish, visit local historical buildings and sites, compile scrapbooks and research logs, attend enriching field trips, and learn from numerous creative workshops presented by local artists.


Intertwining the frames of art, science, and history, youth will embody the roles of researchers and artists. They will keep research logs of their observations concerning the Hudson River landscape, wildlife, structure, and greater surroundings. Based on their research, expert guidance, and artistic interactive workshops, the youth will compile narratives. These stories will be a collage of visual landscapes, seemingly random audio snippets, and personal and historical voices. The youth will work in small groups and individually to develop a narrative that they feel represents themselves and their neighborhood.

The multimedia documentary will provide an outlet for the youth to creatively express themselves, empowering their own voices, passions, and artistic abilities. The process of producing the media includes vast community engagement and the sharing of personal journies. “Echoes from Lock One” will transform the present negative stereotypes of economically-disadvantaged, environmentally-devastated North Troy, NY into a new vision showcasing the beauty of an area alive with artistic, cultural, educational and social programs.



NEA Art Works: Urban Art Reclamations, Our Upper Hudson Heritage — residencies with:

  • Brenda Ann Kenneally
  • Brandon Ballengee

To find out how to volunteer and get involved click here