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Craig Brashear and Rebecca Kelly


Documentary Before and After




updated 7-2023

Built in 1911 by the Masons, the Tahawus Center rises three storeys, on Route 9N, one of the routes leading into the high peaks region of the Adirondacks from the north. The Town of Au Sable Forks lies at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Ausable River, known for great trout fishing. In 2009 it was acquired by the not-for-profit cultural organization, Appleby Foundation.  The Center links activities of artists, artisans, educators and entrepreneurs with local businesses for the enrichment of visitors and residents.  In 2020 Tahawus was added to the National Registry of Historic Buildings.

Tahawus is a name sometimes used for Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York, located outside of the town. However, the name was likely never used by the aboriginal peoples (Mohawk) of the area to refer to the mountain, and its meaning, "Cloud-Splitter," may have no roots in any language. Pronounciation: Tah-how-wuss.

TA-HA-WUS CENTER is said to mean “Cloudsplitter.” Tahawus’ third floor Cloudsplitter Dance Studio has 8 large windows, with breathtaking views of big skies and surrounding town, rivers, and mountains. We find the name inspiring, because in reaching for the sky, there is no limit to creativity and learning.  

“Enlightened entrepreneurs are transforming a former Masons lodge in Au Sable Forks into a multi-use building and activity center containing cultural, community, and ·commercial uses. The project is a superb example of historic building reuse.Hamlets 3, (2010)  Roger Trancik, Fasla, Urban Design Consultants, Ithaca, NY.  Hamlets 3 is a public document written for local communities and regional decision-makers to plan for the sustainable growth of hamlets in the Adirondack Park.

Since acquisition a Steering Committee was formed. Contributions from area businesses including Ausable Family Dental, Cold Spring Granite, Community Bank, Luck Bros., Stewart's Shops, Casella's Waste Systems, Ward Lumber, municipal support and a NYSCA grant, much progress has been made. In 2010 the Town of Jay awarded Tahawus a matching grant of $60,000 for building improvement, allocated for asbestos abatement (including the removal of 25 windows!) and restoring the historic glass store front facade.

Today the building's attractive store front makes a dramatic and lively change on Main Street. Two local businesses occupy the ground floor. The Windows Gallery occupies the 2nd floor, the Cloudsplitter Dance Studio is on the 3rd floor.. The basement, currently a workshop, will eventually to become available for commercial lease. (Ideas including artisan workshop, light manufacturing, eatery, or sporting goods are welcome),

The Windows Gallery presented its inaugural solo exhibit in January 2011 by photographer Mark Hobson. Exhibits followed with works by Arto Monaco, Rockwell Kent, photographer Todd Bissonette, a show of Detroit artists curated by William Dilworth, "Mohawk of the Adirondacks," a retrospective of photographer Jeri Wrght, "Japanese Scrolls," "Here Come the Trains," "Everglades in the Adirondacks," and more.  It continues to spotlight works by local, historical, and visiting artists.  Be sure to visit the 2020 10th Year Retrospective Exhibit

Craig Brashear, Executive Director, Tahawus Cultural Center, is responsible for financial management and facility operations. Craig has extensive experience in non profit administration, along with lighting and set design, performance tour manager duties, and building rehabilitation. Formerly Executive Director of Rebecca Kelly Ballet (NYC), 1979- 2019, he oversaw many artistic/ cultural programs. At Tahawus he has designed youth programs in STEM education (robotics) and continues to explore ways to engage the rural community in cultural and education experiences. Craig has served on the Board of Appleby Foundation, Inc. since 1979, as Treasurer, Vice Chair, and on various Committees.

Rebecca Kelly, Artistic Director, Tahawus Cultural Center. Former Director/ Choreographer and Instructor for Rebecca Kelly Ballet in SoHo, NYC, 1979-2019, (which included 30 summer residencies in the Northern Adirondacks), Rebecca brings a wealth of creative experience to Appleby Foundation’s permanent home base Tahawus Cultural Center.  She develops and curates programs in art, dance, music, and community building with the goal to identify, kindle, and support the drive toward excellence.   Rebecca currently serves as the President of the Essex County Arts Council, NY,and has been on its Board of Directors since 2015.