Archive

  1. Bender Family Foundation

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    The Bender Family Foundation was established in 1997 and works to foster, preserve and fund the arts, culture, education, history and environment of New York State’s Capital Region. 

    Source

  2. Albany and Troy Lions Club

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    The Albany Host Lions Club and the Troy Lions Club were both founded in 1925. The two clubs joined forces in July, 2006 to become the Albany & Troy Lions Club, which currently has 46 members – men and women who volunteer their time to perform a variety of community service activities. The group is one of approximately 45,000 clubs in Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization.

    Albany and Troy Lions Club

  3. Community Engagement in Albany

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    After months of working with our local community partners, we launched the Lucid Project: Albany in September. This project aims to inspire transformational change in Albany’s West Hill neighborhood through the community-led redesign of a city-owned public alley. This vacant alley sits within a residential block in West Hill, adjacent to Albany Victory Gardens, a community garden and weekend farmers market operated by the local nonprofit Eden’s Rose Foundation.

    On Friday, September 24, Van Alen and our partners — the City of Albany, Albany Victory Gardens, and 518 SNUG — got together at Albany Victory Gardens in West Hill to meet design team The Urban Conga. During this informal kickoff session, Greg Sheldon, project lead of the Albany Victory Gardens and Executive Director of the Eden’s Rose Foundation, led a tour of the gardens and members of the gardeners committee shared their vision for the site and the neighborhood.

    The next morning, Saturday, September 25, the design team led a series of conversations and activities with the Albany Victory Gardens community that helped surface ideas, questions, aspirations, and stories that inspired all participants to re-imagine the space. Participants had a chance to play games, take pictures of their community and share their meaningful connections to the site and the neighborhood.

    On October 17 and 24, The Urban Conga set up a booth at the West Hill Farmers Market to continue inviting feedback and ideas from local residents. Participants were invited to respond and vote on a set of evocative words, images, and textures for the design of the alleyway installation, ranging from “explorative” and “musical” to “reflective” and “delicate.”

    The Urban Conga also brought along their Kit of Imagination, a multi-piece set of fluted polypropylene pieces that invited residents to explore, build, and play. Kids assembled three-dimensional benches and bird-like structures, and eventually repurposed the kit for a game of limbo and sword-fighting. Residents strolling through the market could pick up locally harvested produce, homemade hot sauces and pot pies, and freshly fried yucca-based empanadas.

    On Wednesday, October 27, Van Alen and the Urban Conga joined 518 SNUG’s Halloween Party at Albany’s Arbor Hill Community Center. All afternoon, neighbors and families stopped by for food, music, games, and trick-or-treating. A few young aspiring engineers got incredibly creative with the Kit of Imagination, and many residents weighed in on the kind of installation they’d like to see in the alley — and suggested many new ideas, like a performance space and backdrop for creating TikTok videos.

    Currently, the Urban Conga is working on a design proposal incorporating the ideas, feedback, and suggestions we heard at these events. Later this month, they’ll present their concepts to our project partners and West Hill residents in an interactive community workshop. Stay tuned for a peek at the designs!

  4. Grateful Villages

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    Grateful Villages is a non-profit charitable organization focused on the design and implementation of community programs to help spur development, sustainability and empowerment at the local level, with lasting global effects.

    We believe the answers we seek for our community cannot be found in the focus of any one institution but in the very tenets of community itself. Families don’t need houses, they need homes. We live in an environment of shared effect and our equity is woven in the fabric of our community.

    Every garden, every home, every student and teacher, every parent and child. Every hope and opportunity. With every movement we make we write a line in the store that will define a new narrative… one we write together, one we write for our selves.

    Grateful Villages Facebook

  5. The Urban Conga

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    The Urban Conga is an international award-winning multidisciplinary design studio focused on promoting community activity and social interaction through open-ended play. We achieve this by designing, fabricating, and installing interactive installations, custom playable products, and immersive environments that spark creativity, exploration, and free-choice learning into the built environment. As Plato once said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation,” and these are the exact moments we strive to create and advocate for all demographics to share through our work. As a key part of our studio we are exploring the idea for play to exist in everyday spaces, and encourage people to think about these spaces that could become PLAYces: like a crosswalk, park bench, street light, building facade, sidewalk, bus stop, or just the everyday space in-between. Looking at how these often once boring or underutilized situations can turn into stimulating creative outlets for social interaction and community activity through open-ended play. To create these PLAYces we utilize methods of participatory design workshops, a variety of multi-sensory technology, and both qualitative and quantitative research on the impact of the work in the community. Through this work, we have collaborated with public and private organizations and businesses, governments, and universities all around the US as well as in Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and the UK delivering workshops, lectures, urban interventions, playable products, custom installations, development plans, and public policy recommendations. Through our work, we continue to push the power of play for all within the development of our built environment.

  6. City of Albany

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    Represented by Mayor Sheehan and the Department of Planning and Development, the City of Albany is one of our partners for the Lucid Project: Albany. They’ll participate in our community-led process to define the use and design of the City-owned alley in West Hill. The City will participate throughout the entire process and will implement plans in Phase 3.

    Albany Department of Planning and Development

  7. Albany 518 SNUG

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    Albany 518 SNUG (‘guns’ spelled backwards) is an anti-violence program aimed at reducing gun violence by providing proactive intervention for gang activity or at-risk youth. SNUG mentors and directs youth from under-resourced communities to new healthy and formative experiences that allow them to envision a different life and future.

  8. National Endowment for the Arts

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    Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

  9. Albany Victory Gardens

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    Albany Victory Gardens (AVG) is a project to upcycle vacant lots in low-income communities, transforming them into vibrant farmland that supports urban agriculture and circular economy training.

    The project began with the purchase of five vacant lots at the core of West Hill and quickly expanded to 20 lots for farming, training, and as their market space. The garden looks to provide trainings and resources to involved community members, turning a still-expanding swath of land into a network of individually-owned plots and a space for community organizing.

    Get in touch with Albany Victory Gardens: albanyvictorygardens@gmail.com