Since 1993, North Country Heritage Awards have been presented to more than 70 individuals, families, and community groups who demonstrate “evidence of traditionality, mastery, and creative commitment to their art form over time, and a commitment to their community and the teaching of others.” The program was established by TAUNY founder Varick Chittenden. In his work as a folklorist Varick met many people whose dedication to tradition-based skills and knowledge quietly conserved the cultural fabric of
our region. Varick wanted to shine a spotlight on these important, but usually unsung, contributions.
From 1993 – 2013, TAUNY had the good fortune to work with world-renowned photographer Martha Cooper, who traveled to the North Country each year to photograph Heritage Award recipients. Unless otherwise noted, all contemporary photographs of recipients during this period are the work of Martha Cooper. In 2014, Martha’s travel schedule for other work made it impossible for her to make the trip north, and photographer Jason Hunter joined the program. Unless otherwise noted, vintage photographs on this site are courtesy of the recipients, who graciously made their family albums available to us. Additional photos have been taken by TAUNY Folklorists Varick Chittenden, Jill Breit, Hannah Harvester, and Camilla Ammirati.
Scope of Collection
This collection in comprised of series of portraits of winners of the Traditional Arts of Upstate New York Heritage award. The winners are pictured in their work spaces and homes.