Chautauqua Institution News & Announcements

Chautauqua Establishes Dr. Robert R. Hesse Welcome and Business Center

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Named After Institution’s 14th President, Facility to Serve as Important New Community Resource

A gift from Jane Fortune in honor of her late partner, Robert Hesse, the 14th Chautauqua Institution president, will make possible a new business center on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution in time for the organization’s 2018 summer season. The Dr. Robert R. Hesse Welcome and Business Center transforms a substantial portion of the Institution’s existing Main Gate Welcome Center into a modern, adaptable workspace that will allow those on vacation at Chautauqua to stay remotely connected to their offices.

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Chautauqua Theater Company Announces Partnerships to Bring Free, Outdoor Shakespeare to Chautauqua County

Performances June 24 – August 15

Chautauqua Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, announces the launch of Free Will: Chautauqua Shakespeare in the Park, a new program that will bring free, public Shakespeare performances to Chautauqua Institution and venues across Chautauqua County in partnership with the City of Jamestown (as part of the Summer Performance Series at Allen Park), the Mayville / Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce (as part of the Summer Concert Series at Lakeside Park) and Southern Tier Brewing Company. Borba will direct the program’s inaugural production, As You Like It . Tickets are free and performances are open to the public.

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Poetry Takes Center Stage at Chautauqua

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A new Poetry Makerspace in Chautauqua Institution’s Colonnade will bring poetry to the everyday lives of Chautauquans throughout the entire 2018 season.

Located in the space formerly occupied by the Chautauqua Fair Trading Company, the Makerspace will host Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center  Traveling Stanzas exhibit.

The technology-infused interactive exhibit includes both analog and digital engagement tools that invite guests to create poetry from core texts selected to complement each week’s theme and arts programming. Using a poetry device similar to found poetry, or blackout poetry, an application called Emerge enables novice and established poets alike to create poems by selecting words or phrases in text that most appeal to them. They can then share their poems on social media, on video or even on a postcard that can be printed on location.

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Nicole Cuffy’s ‘Atlas of the Body’ Wins First-ever Chautauqua Janus Prize

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Author Will Give Public Lecture and Reading at Chautauqua Institution on July 25

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce Atlas of the Body (Black Lawrence Press) by Nicole Cuffy as the 2018 winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize. 

As the author selected from 16 finalists by judge Kazim Ali, Cuffy receives $2,500 and all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua from July 22 to 28, 2018. A public lecture and reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, in the Athenaeum Hotel Parlor on the Institution's grounds. Her writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua.

Cuffy described her excitement about the prize’s relevance to her work, saying that “in Atlas of the Body, I asked myself what would happen if I treated prose as more pointillistic than linear — if I used narrative to offer brief islands of illumination. I am honored to be the first recipient of the Chautauqua Janus Prize, which celebrates the deconstruction of form and literary convention.”

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Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s The Fact of a Body Wins 2018 Chautauqua Prize

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Author Will Give Public Reading at Chautauqua Institution on August 3

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (May 21, 2018) — Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (Flatiron Books), by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, as the 2018 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.

As author of the winning book, Marzano-Lesnevich receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua from Aug. 1 to 6, 2018. A public reading will take place at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, in the Hall of Philosophy on the Institution’s grounds.

Marzano-Lesnevich said she was honored to receive The Chautauqua Prize, and “that the award comes from an institution with such a long history of creating space for rigorous, rewarding interdisciplinary and cross-genre dialogue makes it particularly meaningful at this moment in our national history, with our urgent need for socially engaged art.”

“I very much look forward to attending the Institution this summer, and to all the rich conversations that will unfold there,” Marzano-Lesnevich said. 

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Chautauqua Theater Company announces 2018 Mainstage Season

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An Octoroon, Airness, and Into the Breeches!

Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, is proud to announce mainstage programming for the 2018 summer season. The 2018 season features Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, running June 29–July 8; Airnessby Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody, running July 14–29; Into the Breeches!by George Brant, directed by Laura Kepley and running Aug. 11–17; Shakespeare’s As You Like It, directed by Andrew Borba and touring around Chautauqua Institution and surrounding communities; The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey, directed by CTC Artistic Associate Sarah Elizabeth Wansleyfor a special limited run, Aug. 19–21; two New Play Workshops including Untitled Russia Play by Lauren Yee and another to be announced.

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Elevating Civil and Interfaith Dialogue in Communities: Finding Common Ground in an Age of Discord

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed a gathering of Chautauquans on April 17, 2018, at South Franklin Circle in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

I bring you greetings from a Chautauqua Institution community that is preparing to remove its porch wraps and launch the Institution’s 145th season on June 23. As we busily complete a few remaining lecture and entertainment bookings, we are also in the process of inviting our community members to help us frame the next strategic plan for Chautauqua.

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Seven Finalists Named for 2018 Chautauqua Prize

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Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce seven exceptional books as the 2018 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its seventh year:

  • Salt Houses, by Hala Alyan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic, by Glenn Frankel (Bloomsbury)
  • The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading, by Anne Gisleson (Little, Brown)
  • The Wanderers, by Meg Howrey (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
  • The Signal Flame, by Andrew Krivák (Scribner)
  • The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron Books)
  • The Worlds We Think We Know, by Dalia Rosenfeld (Milkweed Editions)

The winning book will be selected from this shortlist and announced in mid-May.

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Chautauqua Writers’ Festival Announces VIDA Fellowships

Application window open for two festival tuition fellowships

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Literary Arts and the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival announce two new Festival Workshop Tuition Fellowships for the June 2018 workshops. The fellowships are offered in partnership with VIDA, a non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically marginalized voices, including people of color; writers with disabilities; and queer, trans and gender nonconforming individuals.

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As We Look Ahead, a Collective Wisdom and Hope

Portraits of all 18 Chautauqua Institution presidents is now on display in the hallway leading to current president Michael E. Hill's office in the Colonnade.

There is a new addition to the hallway leading to my office door in the Colonnade, a tribute to all the men — and I look forward to the day we will say “men and women”! — who have been fortunate enough to serve as president of the Institution. As many of you know, I am fond of referring to myself as the 18th president of Chautauqua as a reminder that 17 others came before me, but there is something about this tribute wall to I find particularly moving. As I glance into the faces of my 17 predecessors, I see both a wisdom gleaned from being formed by our beloved Chautauqua and those who populate it year after year, and also an earnestness, an expression of hope on each face of what is to come for the person who is lucky enough to sit in that unique chair.

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Steven Osgood Outlines Exciting Plans for 2018 Opera Season

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Editor's Note: This is a special preview of an article that appears in the upcoming winter edition of The Chautauquan, Chautauqua Institution's off-season news and updates publication.

This winter, Chautauqua Opera General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood sat down with Sara Noble, company and media manager, to talk all about the 2018 season.

This season we’re starting with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the Amphitheater. Can you tell me more about why you chose that work?

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Institution Launches Chautauqua Janus Prize

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$2,500 Award for Short Fiction or Nonfiction to be Awarded for First Time During 2018 Season  

Chautauqua Institution today announced the establishment of a new literary prize. The Chautauqua Janus Prize will be awarded for the first time in 2018, celebrating an emerging writer’s single work of short fiction or nonfiction for daring formal and aesthetic innovations that upset and reorder readers’ imaginations, historical narratives, and literary conventions. In addition to receiving a $2,500 award, the winner will give a lecture on the grounds during the summer season and appear in a forthcoming issue of the literary journal Chautauqua. The prize is funded by a generous donation from Chautauquans Barbara and Twig Branch.

Named for Janus, the Roman god who looks to both the past and the future, the prize will honor writing with a command of craft that renovates understandings of both. The 2018 winner will be selected by guest judge Kazim Ali, author of a forthcoming book of poems, Inquisition, and a forthcoming hybrid memoir, Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies. An associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, Ali will also give a lecture on the Chautauqua grounds during the 2018 summer season.

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Season's Greetings from Chautauqua, 2017

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I've been thinking a lot in recent months about neighbors. Having good, thoughtful neighbors is, I believe, an underappreciated joy in modern life — we're all fortunate in the Chautauqua community to have so many wonderful ones. Neighbors are usually not our family and, for myriad reasons, don't always become our friends, but they are important relationships that require work to establish and maintain a mutual sense of respect and dignity. Our communities are made better when we approach strangers as new neighbors, not as the Other.

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Statement on Gov. Cuomo's Plan to Address Algal Blooms

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill released the following statement regarding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal of a $65 million plan to address algal blooms across New York state:

“I applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership and investment in New York’s lakes, including Chautauqua Lake. His administration clearly recognizes that the health of Chautauqua Lake is critical to the health of our region’s economy.

“We are very pleased to see that this initiative convenes key stakeholders to collaborate with experts in finding solutions to harmful algal blooms that threaten the sustainability of our lakes. As further details unfold, Chautauqua Institution will eagerly and actively participate in the development and implementation of action plans for Chautauqua Lake.”

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Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution Leaders Don Kimes, Lois Jubeck to Step Down Following 2018 Season

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Chautauqua Institution today announced that Don Kimes and Lois Jubeck, artistic director and managing director, respectively, of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), will step down from their posts at the end of 2018. Kimes has led Chautauqua Institution’s visual arts program since 1986; Jubeck joined him officially in 1989.

"Don and Lois have helped bring about a renaissance in the visual arts at Chautauqua, cultivating an atmosphere of excellence, community and camaraderie,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts. “Don is a tremendous artist, and a kind and generous teacher. His and Lois' genuine care for their students is evident in the incredible alumni network of brilliant artists whose talents were mentored in our School of Art, including many who have returned as teachers or as exhibiting artists. We are grateful for the many ways in which their leadership has sculpted not only a program, but also a community that is central to the Chautauqua story."

Kimes and Jubeck will depart Chautauqua for Umbria, Italy, to work with the Pieve International School, which hosts university programs for students from all over the world in art and a variety of other disciplines. Moore will lead a national search for Kimes' successor at Chautauqua.

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A Message of Thanksgiving from Chautauqua

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As we enter a season filled with family, friends, fellowship and reflection, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. This is an extraordinary time for Chautauqua Institution. In the past year, Chautauqua has experienced monumental change and achievement — we've successfully closed a nine-figure capital campaign, delivered the most ambitious building project in our modern history, and realized promising growth in long-term attendance. Also in that span, it was my great honor and privilege to begin work as your 18th president. Now we embark upon a bold new shared vision to raise Chautauqua's prominence in our national conversation. None of this would be possible without extraordinary generosity and outsized investment of so many members of our community.

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Chautauqua Institution Launches Winter Village at Chautauqua

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Regional Community Invited to Five-weekend Series of Holiday Events Beginning Nov. 24

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution today announced the Winter Village at Chautauqua, set to launch Nov. 24 and running on weekends through New Year’s Eve. A new family-oriented initiative, the Winter Village showcases Chautauqua’s picturesque grounds and boutique shops, restaurants, spas and other businesses in a celebration of the joy and fellowship of the holiday season. Highlights include a holiday lighting display across Bestor Plaza, activities for children including visits from Santa, holiday shopping, treat-decorating classes, food and drink, outdoor fire pits and special events every weekend.

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How to Embrace Diversity When You Have None, or Very Little

Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill addressed the annual Nonprofit Day conference hosted on Oct. 24, 2017, by The Nonprofit Partnership at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pennylvania. His remarks as prepared for delivery, with light edits, are provided below.

As many of you in the audience know well, Chautauqua Institution is a nonprofit community whose mission is currently exemplified through a nine-week summer season, where we celebrate the best in human values through the arts of nearly every type and manifestation, educational experiences, a wide array of recreation activities and programs, and through interfaith exploration.

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Michael D. Metzger, Marnette Perry Join Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees

Outgoing Trustees Laura Currie, Ron Kilpatrick Celebrated for Their Contributions

Chautauqua community members Michael D. Metzger and Marnette Perry have begun their four-year terms of service on the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees. The pair replaces longtime trustees Laura Pembridge Currie and Ron Kilpatrick, who depart after reaching their term limits. Metzger and Perry were elected by the board at its Aug. 26 meeting on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution; they officially began their terms on Oct. 1.

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Update on Chautauqua Lake Preservation Issues

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Dear Chautauqua Institution Property Owners: 

Following the conclusion of a highly successful season at Chautauqua, I am writing to provide an update on Chautauqua Institution’s efforts to stay informed of developments related to the use of herbicides on Chautauqua Lake. Indeed, the care for our lake is a year-round enterprise. To revisit my July update on lake issues, please click here.

Toward the end of the summer, members of Chautauqua Institution leadership team (Executive Vice President and CFO Sebby Baggiano, Vice President for Campus Planning and Operations John Shedd and I) met with Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell. In September I also received a reply to a letter I sent in August to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which controls all decisions about Chautauqua Lake. Both the meeting and correspondence concerned the latest information available regarding the early-summer use of herbicides in Bemus Bay and ongoing efforts to care for the lake. In both instances, we articulated the Institution's primary interests in this matter: that there be no negative effect of any weed- and bacteria-management activities on our community's drinking water, shoreline and recreation activities; that we and our community be kept up to date on matters of the lake's health and conservation activities; that future permitting processes for herbicide use include an opportunity for public comment; and our concern that trusted authorities on the lake and its health continue to disagree about the use of herbicides to combat Chautauqua Lake's water-quality issues.

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