A Toast to Grand Street

Waldo Pierce
Al & Alzira at the bar

Sloppy Joe’s (1936) by Waldo Pierce

Join us for a toast to Grand Street

and meet the new officers of our board!

Grand Street Community Arts invites friends and neighbors to an informal Happy Hour to meet-and-greet with the new officers of GSCA’s Board of Directors.

Michael Banks
Ellen Becker
Ben Clark
Ty Riddick

On Thursday, February 18, 2016
from 5pm – 7pm
At V&R Restaurant
136 Madison Avenue, Albany

Cash bar. No tickets or reservations.
Come as you are and say hello.

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Welcome New Board Members & Officers

Passing the Baton
Grand Street Community Arts is pleased to announce a smooth and complete succession of leadership this January.
At a special meeting of the Board on January 19th, GSCA welcomed four new board members, said farewell to our previous Board President and Board Vice President, and elected a full new slate of officers.

New Board Members

GSCA welcomes  Kara Banks, Michael Banks, Benjamin Clark and Ty Riddick to our board of directors.

New Officers

New Officers were elected at a special meeting of the Board on Jan 19, 2016.

Michael Banks

Athlete, actor and activist Michael Banks was born in South Norwalk, Connecticut–a city known for dense proximity of rich and poor neighborhoods. Mike Banks has spent the past decade working in the inner-city communities of Albany, NY, where he is currently Program Coordinator for the City of Albany Department of Recreation. As a coach and mentor, Mike Banks is engaged in the community and looks forward to bridging the gaps between resources and accessibility. Mike Banks has performed on stages and in front of cameras, and also has a passion for music production. He looks forward to promoting both music and drama at Grand Street Community Arts.  Mike Banks is thankful and appreciative for all the people who have influenced his life: his wife, family and friends.

Vice President
Ellen Becker

Attorney Ellen Bennett Becker was born in Dayton, OH, and raised in northern Maryland. Ellen Becker studied political science at the University of Michigan and law at the Albany Law School. Long interested in the arts, she also has a Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy granted by the European Graduate School located in Leuk-Stadt, Switzerland. Ellen Becker clerked with the Appellate Division, Third Department and served with several Albany, NY, law firms before joining her husband in the firm of Becker & Becker Attorneys at Law of Albany in 1989. Larry and Ellen Becker are Founding Board Members of Grand Street Community Arts and have been the foremost champions of the Grand Street Revitalization. Prior to election as our Vice-President, Ellen Becker has served as Treasurer for GSCA for the past four years.


Benjamin Clark

IMG_0072Benjamin Clark is a Senior Financial Analyst at the New York State Department of Health.




Ty Riddick

A resident of Albany, New York since 1989, Ty Riddick has attended Hudson Valley Community College, the State University of Albany, and the Sage Colleges of Albany receiving her AAS in Liberal Arts, BA in African/African-American Studies, and a MS in Community Health Education, respectively. Ms. Riddick has worked for Albany Medical Center for 13 years to the present time. She is currently the Program Coordinator for AVillage…Inc, a grassroots community organization, where is working on a healthy community initiative for the Ezra Prentice Community Residence in the South End of Albany. She recently became a member of the Board for Grand Street Community Arts and is now Board Secretary. Ms. Riddick is a proud single mother of four beautiful children. Ty Riddick is passionate about helping others in her community lead and live healthier and more empowered lives.
Come meet our new officers on February 18th at “A Toast to Grand Street“!

Thank you, Vicki and Barbara!

We also said goodbye to two deeply committed Board Members who have made the Grand Street Revitalization a reality! Farewell Victoria Kereszi and Barbara Spring! Thank you for all of your dedicated service!

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Reportback WCAA’s First Public Meeting!

WCAA's first public
General Interest Meeting
Jan 18, 2016 6-8pm
Albany Public LIbrary
Washington Ave Branch

On Monday, Jan 18th,  the first public General Interest meeting for WCAA took place at the large auditorium of the Albany Public Library.

Mike Gibson (aka DJ Chef Gin), WCAA Programming Director, played music as people came in from the cold.
Alexis Bhagat, Executive Director of GSCA,  opened the meeting with a brief talk about What is Low-Power FM?
Station Manager Musa Zwana provided a history and status report of WCAA.

Kirk Daniels, Chair of the WCAA Working Group, introduced other members of the Working Group to the assembly, including:

Penny Meacham, who organizes a poetry and music series at Opalka Gallery that benefits WCAA, asked others to attend her February event at Opalka and put out the call for poets and musicians to join in her April “Art & Activism” panel discussion and performance to close the series. (The next event in the series will tka place on February 28.)

Chris Johnson – described his project of working on a Revenue Plan for WCAA, and invited other volunteers to join him in creating a solid plan for the stations finances.

Al Davis talked about all of the Low-Power FM stations across New York State that he is working with, and invited volunteers to speak with him about how LPFM stations could support each other.

Mike Gibson talked about his background in radio, and invited volunteers who would like to become broadcasters to attend trainings at WMHT to obtain their FCC licenses and practical experience.

Kirk also mentioned and thanked two members of the working group who were not present: Joe Colon, who leads street team outreach and Barbara Spring, a devoted board member of GSCA who together with Musa spearheaded our FCC application.

After meeting everyone from the working group, we reset the room into a circle for an impromptu assembly and everyone spoke about their background, interest, skills and passions. Among the assembled included:

Earl Thorp’s wife, Sandra Thorpe, who had just come from the screening of The Brothers at the Albany Institute, both to bless our new station and to find out more about our goals.

Terri Roben from the People’s Music Network, who will hold their annual Winter Gathering in Albany this month. She invited WCAA to have a table outside their Friday concert, and put the idea of major benefit concerts later in the year onto the table.

Donald “Soulman” Hyman spoke of the tremendous opportunities for live jazz programming from bands visiting the Saratoga Jazz Festival and Albany Jazz Festival.

Many other volunteers and attendees spoke of programs they would like to produce.

And Sarah Clarke from the Albany Public Library invited further collaboration between WCAA and the Albany Public Library.

The weather was pretty awful so everyone who came was quite committed! It was an energetic and exciting meeting! As the library closed and we packed up, Musa and Kirk announced that they will hold another General Interest meeting at the Albany Public Library in March. (Tentatively scheduled for March 21st, 6-8pm.)

In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about WCAA, there will be two ongoing outreach programs launching in February –

speakout-smallRadio Speak Out, on February 2nd at the Social Justice Center.

The Radio Speakout is an open invitation for local activist groups to meet WCAA programmers and to record interviews, produce PSAs and programs, and to share information.

and the

mixer-smallLocal Music Mixer on February 4th at the Low Beat

The Local Music Mixer will be a monthly event both to collect recordings, and to produce live performance recordings by local artists for broadcast on WCAA.



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The Bell of Transformation

Grand Street Community Arts
invites you to
a short ritual
to let go of the old and welcome the new.


We will be ringing of the bell at St. Anthony’s Church 81 times
9 times 9.
27 times at 11:33.
27 times at midnight.
27 times at 12:27.

Bring candles for this celebration!
The Bell of Transformation!

At Grand Street Community Arts (Old St. Anthony’s)
68 Grand Street, Albany (Corner of Grand and Madison)
Midnight, New Year’s Eve

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We want to talk with you!


Grand Street Community Arts is in a period of transformation. We are reassessing everything. We want to know your opinions. What role could GSCA play in the Capital Region? What programs should should prioritize (or let go of)? Take part in our Stakeholder Inquiry and tell us what you think. Round 2 begins on February 6.

Would you like a tour?

Click on the photo for a tour of the basement of St. Anthony's led by Larry and Ellen Becker. We are designing new program space in our basement this year thanks to support from the New York State Council on the Arts. Video by Kirk Daniels.