Toolshed was created by artist duo Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler/Morris), founders of The Canary Project, a groundbreaking platform for deepening public understanding of climate change (2006 – 2020).

Toolshed’s on-the-ground work will unfold at Basilica Hudson, which also serves as Toolshed’s 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, as well as the Hudson Area Library. Projects include the Tool Shed Garden (to be developed with Joshua Cohen, Kamau Patton, Sam Van Aken, Cathryn Dwyre and many others), Ecotopian Library (created by Mary Mattingly) and The Toolshed Exchange (organized by Timothy Furstnau).

“COVID-19 has only made apparent what was already there beneath the surface: a global emergency; a need for community; a re-centering of our relationship to earth (not The Earth, but earth). And here is the thing about Basilica Hudson: it already gets all that! Basilica is the sort of cultural institution we need post-virus—ecologically focused, rooted in place, open and forward-thinking,” say Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris. “We are so grateful to be working with Basilica to forge this vision for the future and to partner in developing our new project: Toolshed, an ambitious cultural platform where we gather and share tools for a livable future.”

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The Toolshed Exchange
Toolshed Exchange is a tool lending library that provides Hudson-area residents access to tools and training, promoting a culture of collective stewardship and empowering neighbors to build and maintain more resilient and equitable communities. It lends tools free-of-charge to members, including nonprofits, and membership is sliding scale.

Toolshed Exchange is now open! It is located on Basilica Hudson’s campus in the Green Trailer, 110 South Front Street in Hudson, New York.

Toolshed Exchange’s main goal is to become an infrastructure for sharing that supports the good work already happening in Hudson and the broader Hudson Valley. Like a multi-use tool, the tool library can do a variety of things, depending on what’s needed. Here are just some of the things Toolshed Exchange will be used for:

  • Education— supporting skillsharing and training in practical applications
  • Workforce development—offer support for small, independent entrepreneurs and cooperatives, or training that can lead to employment
  • Community empowerment—individuals and communities can accomplish more with shared assets, and things you didn’t know you could do until you had the tools to do it
  • Resilience—bank of quickly deployable tools to meet unexpected needs
  • Equity—makes tools affordable and accessible to those who need them most

Hudson As Muse
Toolshed have co-presented several artists through Basilica’s Hudson As Muse Artist in Residence Series, also supported by the nonprofit’s first NEA Art Works Visual Arts Grant. Mary Mattingly‘s residency (October 2020) focused on developing the Hudson-specific Ecotopian Library now on display at the Hudson Area Library. Kamau Patton (May 2021) explored an iteration of his Tel project. Patton will continue his research on the poetics of landscape and engage directly with the Tool Shed Garden at Basilica.

Also supported by Toolshed, interdisciplinary artist and educator Ellie Irons (Dec 2021-Jan 2022) will explore how the plants around Basilica Hudson are connected to the larger watershed/bioregion and its peoples, from Troy down to New York Harbor along the Hudson.

Net Zero Campus Project
Toolshed sites and programs will build on the Basilica Net Zero Campus Project, the transformation of Basilica Hudson’s industrial footprint into a pioneering carbon-neutral facility and community destination for year-round programming, made possible through a grant from the NYSERDA’s Net Zero Energy for Economic Development Program.

Tool Shed Garden
Working with environmental educator and activist Joshua Cohen, Toolshed will build a working garden on the Basilica Hudson campus.

Designed as an indoor-outdoor public space featuring a greenhouse and gardens as classroom, the Toolshed Garden will serve as a gathering space for community groups, youth programs, and the public. The project includes a Leadership & Apprentice Program to prepare youth for a livable future. In addition, regular cultural-ecological engagement programming focused on access, equity, and with social-distancing in mind, for local youth, families, and the general public will provide further means to connect with one another and the environment. A vibrant, all-season space demonstrating permaculture-inspired design, the Tool Shed Garden will feature edible plantings, and provide a place for inspiration, education, beauty and joy for all visitors.