Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289


Of Recent Interest

Dear TAUNY Friends: Recently, we announced that I will retire as Executive Director on June 1, 2023, just shy of my 30th...


Executive Director - Jill Breit -

Founding Director - Varick Chittenden -

Program Director - Mathilde 'Tilly' Frances Lind -

Digital Content Director - Gus Geraci -

Bookkeeper - Laura Gagne -

Development Assistant - Carol Hill -

Folkstore Associates -

Debbie Courtney

Kathy Flanagan

Taylor Grant

Kelly Salisbury


Executive Director Jill Breit joined TAUNY in 1993, just before the organization opened its first public gallery in Canton. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, Jill earned her M.A. in Folk Studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  As Executive Director, in addition to oversight of programming, Jill is in charge of long-range planning, cultivation of funding sources, and staff development. She also continues to be involved in research and programs.


Founding Director Varick Chittenden retired, is a folklorist with particular interests in regional culture, folk art, traditional crafts, foodways, and oral storytelling traditions. He is Professor Emeritus of English and folklore at SUNY Canton, has an MA in American Folk Culture from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a BA and MEd from St. Lawrence University. He has curated numerous exhibitions of folk art and published countess articles in scholarly and general interest publications. He remains an active folklorist locally and nationally, and regularly consults with TAUNY on programs and projects.

Program Director Tilly Lind relocated to Canton from Tartu, Estonia, where she researched the entanglement of ecology and wool crafts through traditional ways of producing natural materials for handmade textiles. She is currently in the final stages of earning her PhD in folklore from Indiana University Bloomington. Her journey into folklore began with teaching spinning, knitting, and weaving, and her research involves hands-on creative practice. Her interests include rural and agricultural traditions, crafts, and multispecies ethnography. Although she has lived in many different places, her family roots are in the Northeast, and she is delighted to return to this part of the country after nearly four years in Europe.

Get in touch with her at

Digital Content Director Gus Geraci joined TAUNY in 2021. Gus has traveled to 38 US states and called seven of them home over the years, most recently Connecticut and Ohio before moving to the North Country in the Fall of 2021. He holds a degree in Audio/Video Production from Cincinnati State Technical College, FAA drone pilot certification and has been a professional video contractor since 2010. His passion is leveraging the access granted by documentary style formats, for storytelling content and a life of endless curiosity, discovery and learning. He is absolutely stoked by the creative latitude and culture offered through TAUNY. Catch him locally hiking the Adirondacks, snowboarding Whiteface or at a Clarkson hockey game.

Bookkeeper Laura Gagne joined TAUNY in 2016. Laura retired as Deputy Village Treasurer in Massena. She attended Canton ATC for Accounting and SUNY ESC for Business and Finance. She and her husband, Dave, live in Massena and visit their 2 sons in North Carolina. She loves golf and enjoys various crafts including jewelry making and painting. Laura takes pleasure in working at TAUNY and seeing all the creativity around her.

Development Assistant Carol Hill is from Massachusetts and moved to Canton in the fall of 2017 to “retire”. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, moving back here has enabled her to enjoy even more that the North Country offers. Carol’s main background is in various segments of the boating world, managing not-for-profit clubs, boatyards, and most recently working in development positions for a nonprofit sailing education tall ship program and a therapeutic riding organization. She is an avid photographer and can often be found photographing sports for St. Lawrence University.

Folkstore Associate Debbie Courtney joined TAUNY in 2016. Debbie and her husband live outside the Village of Canton with their 4 rescue critters. Debbie retired from St. Lawrence County after 33 years of employment. They enjoy  hiking, snowshoeing, gardening and boating on the St. Lawrence River. If they are outdoors, they are happy.


Folkstore Associate Kathy Flanagan works closely with Debbie to keep the Folkstore running smoothly. Kathy is a Canton native, as is her husband Jack. They have two sons: Sean and Kyle. Kathy worked for Kinney Drugs for 35 years before coming to TAUNY. She enjoys camping and spending time with her extended family.


Folkstore Associate Kelly Salisbury is the newest addition to TAUNY's Folkstore staff. Kelly is originally a native of Vermont, having recently moved with her husband from Connecticut to the North Country in 2020 to be closer to family. They settled into Hannawa Falls where they enjoy the water and views year round. In August of 2020, Kelly and her husband became first time grandparents, welcoming a granddaughter! Kelly enjoys attending college hockey games, snowshoeing, skiing, gardening, kayaking and hiking, always looking for a new place for an adventure.




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