Applying to VACI School of Art

Applications to the VACI School of Art program will be accepted beginning on November 1, 2019 and will close on March 2, 2020. Eligibility is limited to those who are juniors in college and older, with an emphasis on artists whose work has not yet been recognized internationally. Up to 38 positions are available. The entire Core Faculty and Artistic Director as a group will select participants who will enter into this program. Applications will be judged by the quality of the work submitted and artistic excellence as well as the answers provided to questions in the application. Financial ability to fully pay for fees to attend plays no role in the decision process and jurying of applications.

Requirements for application include:

  • 8 images of your work, all media accepted, including video.
  • Complete application including answering a few questions designed to tell us about your artistic practice and why you want to come to Chautauqua.
  • PDF of your current resume.
  • $25 non-refundable fee. Everyone who does not receive acceptance into our program will receive a response and brief feedback on their application.
  • All eligible artists will be considered with no preference to racial or ethnic origins, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability, or age.

The Juroring Process:

In an effort to be transparent, the juroring of applications is as follows:

  • Applications received by midnight, March 2, 2020.
  • Artistic Director Sharon Louden reads through applications to see if everyone who applied is eligible
  • Artistic Director sends all applications to all of the core-mentors to review and vote on and give feedback on each application. The applications are scored between 1-10. It is optional for a core-mentor to give feedback on the applications. The Artistic Director gives feedback on every application who is not accepted into our program.
  • Artistic Director and VACI Manager collect all of the votes. Every application over 5.0 out of 10.0 are looked at again by a smaller jury of 5 core-mentors and the Artistic Director in person in Brooklyn, NY. The Gallery Director witnesses the process and the VACI Manager takes notes of conversations per application.
  • Between 38-44 artists and 5 alternatives are accepted by the core-mentors.
  • Artistic Director then starts the process of writing a few sentences of feedback per application that is not accepted and emails those applicants first. This takes between 3 days and 2 weeks depending on how many applications are submitted.
  • Artistic Director then writes 5 people who are selected as alternatives.
  • Artistic Director then writes approved applicants of their acceptance, which is between 38-44 people.

If you have any questions about the juroring process, please feel free to write us at Thank you!

Applications close on March 2, 2020

Apply Here

Applications who applied before March 2, 2020 will be notified on or before April 15, 2020.   

For 38 participants who receive the opportunity to visit Chautauqua, their work will be shown the first day of the School of Art residency in the main galleries at the Chautauqua Institution. Curated by gallery Director Judy Barie and mentors of our program, this will be the first introduction of accepted applicants’ work to the Chautauqua community.



We are open and excited to work with many mission-aligned nonprofit organizations, universities and schools to bring participants to the School of Art. Our focus is on sharing resources and finding ways to offer opportunities to artists worldwide.  For more information, visit our Partnerships page.

College Credit

fredonia logo one line 2c web 1Participants in the Chautauqua School of Art residency program can receive undergraduate or graduate credit for their studies at the Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts. Credits are available by special arrangement with the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. This is at the prevailing cost of SUNY tuition, in addition to tuition, room and board costs at CHQ. Students must indicate their desire for college credit at initial registration.

Visual Arts students can receive up to three credits for studio work for the course Special Topics: Studio Art (ARTS 390) – 1-3 credits.

For more information please contact:

Sarah Malinoski-Umberger, Manager, Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts

Eric Skowronski, Director of Extended Learning, SUNY Fredonia

Contact Us

For more information and all inquiries, feel free to email Sharon Louden at We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

June 27–August 15, 2020

Applications for the 2020 season will open on November 1, 2019 and close on March 2, 2020.

Apply Here

Email me School of Art information

About Chautauqua School of Art

The School of Art is a centerpiece of Visual Arts at Chautauqua (known as VACI — pronounced VAH-chee). The School is an incubator of inclusive and expansive programming in the visual arts composed of workshops and one-on-one time with mentors covering all media. The curriculum intentionally breaks apart the traditional methods that silo disciplines from each other and instead embraces a full range of studio and pragmatic studies including professional development for artists, the art of pedagogy, writing in the 21st century, archiving and the relevance of art history today. Learn more about the VACI Experience and check out our Instagram page to see what we've been up to.

The Chautauqua School of Art residency program welcomes artists who have yet to receive wide recognition of their work, including those as young as juniors in college. Artists who engage in all media are encouraged to apply. This is an environment that promotes intergenerational collaboration, exchange, research and an openness to other art forms at Chautauqua, including dance, theater, music, literature and more. It is meant to be a safe, brave space to share, experiment and freely express.

Every participant in our residency program has the opportunity to show their work in a group exhibition in our galleries, opportunities to sell their work, engage in group projects, present other artists' works, and have the freedom to do performances, group projects, lectures and more. We welcome international artists from far and wide.

Core Mentors

Jean Shin 2

Jean Shin  

Professional Development

Participating artists will receive contemporary, nuanced, reality-based, peer-to-peer professional development workshops from Artistic Director Sharon Louden and guest speakers while at Chautauqua the first, middle and last weeks of the season. This type of Professional Development includes adopting basic tools, however, the overall emphasis is community building. 

Workshops, Visiting Artists and Special Studies at VACI

Technical workshops and Special Studies in printmaking, figure drawing, digital media, painting, ceramics and other subjects explored will be offered throughout the season through week 8. In addition, many visiting artists and guests will also come for short stints weekly to provide unique experiences, studio visits, one-on-one access with participating artists and the Chautauqua visiting public. Technicians will also be on-site for general assistance. We welcome everyone to come and experience, learn and explore the visual arts with us. For information about our facilities, check out some of our places of making and thinking here.

The VACI Experience

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Students and emerging artists are invited to explore The VACI Experience. Check out what we have to offer! We look forward to welcoming you.

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071619 SchoolofArt GF 07

The 2020 Chautauqua School of Art residency program welcomes students and emerging artists who have yet to receive wide recognition of their work, including artists as young as juniors in college. Applications open on November 1, 2019 and close on March 2, 2020. We welcome your application! Apply here.

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Core Mentors, Faculty & Staff

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The Chautauqua School of Art residency program has a base of core resident mentors along with other faculty and visiting artists who will hold workshops and give lectures throughout the season. We look forward to your meeting them and our VACI team! Click here to learn more about us. 

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071519 SchoolofArt GF 06We are honored to partner with institutions and nonprofit organizations to encourage students and emerging artists to apply to the Chautauqua School of Art residency program and to make our programs part of their professional development plan. Many have special programs which provide financial and other support.

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Cost & General Information

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The School of Art residency program is an incubator of inclusive, intergenerational and expansive programming in the visual arts. Find cost and information on funding here. 

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IMG 9220Each student of the Chautauqua School of Art receives his or her own partitioned studio space with 24-hour access. They also have 24-hour access to facilities supporting most media including digital media, silkscreen, printmaking, ceramics as well as the vast grounds of the School of Art. 

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Housing and Life at Chautauqua

072619 SchoolofArt GF 05School of Art students and emerging artists live in shared housing side-by-side with other students and emerging professionals studying music, voice and dance — all forming relationships that last a lifetime. We also have suggestions of other sources of housing if you wish to reside off the grounds. 

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VACI Galleries and Exhibitions

06242019 ReconstructingIdentitiesExhibition MS 02Exhibitions, openings and special events take place throughout the summer season. Every Friday afternoon, the public is welcome to sit in on Dr. Alpesh Kantilal Patel's workshop to listen, participate and learn from lively exchanges from the Chautauqua School of Art students and emerging artists and we always offer tours of our exhibitions from our most knowledgeable and enthusiastic docents. All are welcome!

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History of VACI

071719 SchoolofArt GF 05Become part of a rich and celebrated visual arts tradition.

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VACI Partners

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VACI Partners is a group of members who promote awareness, education, appreciation and excellence in the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI). They host lively events such as Art in the Park, gatherings with the Chautauqua School of Art students/participants and a theme-based members show. Join us and become a member today!

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Visual Arts Lecture Series

IMG 8630VACI is delighted to present luminaries from the art world and beyond who will share their work and current projects in the Hultquist Center at Chautauqua. All are welcome to attend, to gain close access to thought leaders, to ask questions and participate. Join us for this lecture series which is open to all on Tuesday and Sunday evenings!

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2019 VACI Students

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Take a look at the 2019 VACI students.

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2019 Internal Calendar

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A schedule for the 2019 VACI season. Select events open to the public. Stayed tuned for our 2020 calendar!

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2018 CHQ Faculty/Visiting Artists/Critics


Advisory Council to the Artistic Director
Denise Bibro, Director, Denise Bibro Fine Art, NYC
Michael Gitlitz, Director Marlborough Gallery, NYC
Judy Glantzman, Artist
Glenn Goldberg, Artist
Louis Grachos, Director, The Contemporary Austin
Donald Kuspit, Art Critic and Historian
Sharon Louden, Artist
Barbara Rose, Art Critic & Historian
Robert Storr, Dean, Yale School of Art
Stephen Westfall, Artist & Critic Art In America
Julian Zugazoitia, Director Nelson Adkins Museum, Kansas City

Previous Faculty

2017 School of Art Faculty List 
2016 School of Art Faculty List
2015 School of Art faculty bios
2014 School of Art faculty bios
2013 School of Art faculty bios
2012 School of Art faculty bios
2011 School of Art faculty bios

A partial list of faculty since 1990:



Bonnie Ashmore
Pam Avril
Olive Ayhens
Flavia Bacarella
Jake Berthot
Al Blaustein
Harvey Breverman
Riley Brewster
Larry Brown
Nathan Brujis
Howard Buchwald
Ken Buhler
Charles Cajori
Zoe Charlton
Glenn Cebulash
Ron Cohen
Steven Cushner
Tomas vu Daniel
Carol Diamond
Stuart Diamond
Jane Dickson
Tim Doud
Kathleen Dugan
William Dunlap
Louis Finkelstein
Sharon Fishel
Stephanie Franks
Joanne Freeman
Dorothy Frey
Nancy Friese
Bruce Gagnier
Tony Gant

Judy Glantzman
Robert Godfrey
Carol Brown Goldberg
Glenn Goldberg
Lester Goldman
Ron Graff
Margaret Grimes
Barbara Grossman
Dan Gustin
Allan Hacklin
Gerard Haggerty
Alison Hall
Mary Hambleton
Louise Hamlin
Julie Heffernan
Robert Henry
Dan Hernandez
Vera Iliatova
Ron Janowich
Suzanne Joelson
Deborah Kahn
William Kelly
Leonard Koscianski
Gabriel Laderman
Julie Langsam
Heidi Leitzke
Ron Cohen
Julie Heffernan
Sharon Louden
Barry Nemett
Lise Lemeland
Mark Lewis

Stanley Lewis
Ying Li
Pat Lipsky
Ro Lohin
Lynette Lombard
Jeremy Long
Sharon Louden
David Lund
Marcia Marcus
Margo Margolis
James McGarrell
Clayton Merrell
Raoul Middleman
Ben Frank Moss
Kathy Muehlemann
Dona Nelson
Barry Nemet
Laura Newman
Garry Nichols
Graham Nickson
Joe Nicoletti
Wilbur Niewald
Jay Noble
Jennifer Nuss
Hearne Pardee
Don Perlis
Jeneen Piccuirro
Katherine Porter
Marjorie Portnow
Colleen Randall
Alberto Rey
Matthew Rich

Carole Robb
George Rose
Deborah Rosenthal
Alyse Rosner
Amber Scoon
Chris Semergieff
Ophrah Shemesh
Elena Sisto
Don Southard
Charles Spurrier
Clintel Steed
Gary Stephan
Craig Taylor
Morgan Taylor
Dannielle Tegeder
Esme Thompson
Selina Trieff
Josette Urso
Audrey Ushenko
Costa Vavagiakis
John Walker
Albert Weaver
Gina Werfel
Stephen Westfall
Kevin Wixted
Alice Zinnes
Olive Ayhens
Vera Iliyatova
Matthew Rich
Alyse Rosner

The Art Program

The Art Program

Each student receives their own partitioned studio space with 24 hour access. They also have 24 hour access to communal studios in painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. The faculty represent a wide range of viewpoints and approaches. The media in which students and faculty work are also broad. However, the common link among these varying sensibilities, which remains primary in importance, is that a genuine dialogue with both faculty and peers is established so that an intensive continuity of working experience is maintained.

This intensive studio program is designed for students with a high level of commitment. In many ways motivation is more important than what some might call ability. The School of Art presents the opportunity for the kind of sustained and focused study in studio art not available in academic settings.

The program is not designed for everyone. Those who need continual instruction or who cannot work

in a community would find the long days, the requirement for self-motivation and the demanding nature of the program difficult to adjust to. But for those hungry to engage themselves with exceptionally serious artists, those who wake up in the morning thinking about being in the studio, this is home.

Drawing plays an important role. Many view it as the link between disciplines, the vehicle through which one thinks as an artist. Our session begins with a two-day drawing marathon taught by all of the resident faculty in the school at the start of the session. This not only introduces students to the faculty in a very direct way (before students set up their schedules for the remainder of the summer), but it also emphasizes the importance of drawing in the context of the larger role that it plays as an intrinsically meaningful bridge within the school. 

Collectively the artists/faculty who participate each summer are represented in major museums and galleries throughout the world. They are also highly respected artists who, altogether, have taught in nearly every major art program in America. Most of the artists who teach at CHQ are resident faculty. Resident faculty members teach, work and live o the grounds of the Institution for extended periods of time (two to seven weeks). Visiting faculty are generally present for one to three days of critiques and/or teaching. A final biographical listing of this summer’s faculty is available on this web site in late February.





"The faculty, students, lectures, studio spaces, concerts, etc. were all wonderful. Only time went by too fast. It is a rare thing to find a place where you have no worries and just have to get into your studio in the morning."

– Sarah Miller, BA student, Sorbonne, Paris