News & Announcements

Chautauqua Wins National “Best Small Town Cultural Scene” USA TODAY Contest

Chautauqua Wins National “Best Small Town Cultural Scene” USA TODAY Contest

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Voters in the latest USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice contest have spoken: Chautauqua, New York, boasts America’s “Best Small Town Cultural Scene.” The announcement was made at 10best.com at 12 p.m. EDT today.

“It’s a tremendous honor for Chautauqua to win this national contest, especially among such an amazing array of fellow nominees. We’re so grateful to all of our dedicated community members here in Chautauqua County and all over the country for helping in this effort,” said Michael E. Hill, president of Chautauqua Institution. “We’re immensely proud of the cultural scene we provide at Chautauqua Institution: We explore the best in human values and uplift art and voices that our world needs to see and hear. This is further affirmation that the work we do matters.”
Town of Chautauqua Supervisor Don Emhardt agrees. “This recognition is extra special because it suggests Chautauqua is not only a great place to visit, but it’s also a wonderful place to live year-round,” Emhardt said.

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Anna Deavere Smith, Fr. Greg Boyle, Darren Walker, Paula Kerger, Gina Chavez Headline Week Three Of The 2020 CHQ Assembly

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Three of its 2020 season. The week, which begins July 11 and concludes July 19, features presentations released on the brand-new digital collective called CHQ Assembly. Week Three includes renowned guests such as actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith; popular priest and Homeboy Industries founder Fr. Greg Boyle; Ford Foundation President Darren Walker; PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger; and 12-time Austin Music award winner Gina Chavez.

Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week season features weekday lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. Week Three examines “Art and Democracy,” in which speakers in the 10:45 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series program explore the role of art and artists in an active democracy — how they’re able to raise the social consciousness, challenge the status quo and engage communities large and small toward meaningful action. The 2 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series is themed “Art: A Glimpse into the Divine,” which will explore how art underlies and underlines the commonalities of human existence. 

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Ben Folds, Ruth Marcus, Cedric Alexander, David Rohde Headline Week Two of the 2020 CHQ Assembly

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Two of its 2020 season. The week, which begins July 4 and concludes July 11, features presentations released on the brand-new digital collective called CHQ Assembly. Week Two includes renowned guests such as multiplatinum singer-songwriter Ben Folds; expert analyst on 21st-century policing Cedric L. Alexander; Washington Post opinion editor and author Ruth Marcus; and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Rohde.

Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week season features weekday lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. Week Two examines “Forces Unseen: What Shapes Our Daily Lives,” in which speakers in the 10:45 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series program explore how we are influenced in ways we often do not know or understand, by people, algorithms and nature. The 2 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series is themed “Forces that Shape Our Daily Lives: The Contemporary Search for Spirituality,” tracing the evolution of modern faith traditions, and seeking common ground between adherents and so-called “nones” who don’t identify with a mainstream religion, but of whom many are indeed on a journey seeking spirituality and meaning. 

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Chautauqua Institution Launches New Platform That Brings In-Demand Arts, Culture and Education Content To Your Home

146-year tradition will continue with launch of CHQ Assembly; 2020 summer lineup includes Ben Folds, Jon Meacham, Sir Ken Robinson, Brian Greene, and others

90-day free trial provides access to robust lineup of guest lecturers, performing and visual arts, events, and more

To coincide with the commencement of the summer season, Chautauqua Institution is today announcing the official launch of a brand-new digital collective called CHQ Assembly. This collection of five digital platforms will extend the Institution’s high-caliber programming beyond its Chautauqua Lake campus and engage participants across the U.S. year-round by removing geographic, cultural, social, economic, generational and class barriers to engagement at a pivotal time in our country.

For 146 years, Chautauqua Institution has gathered members and visitors for a summer schedule of in-person and hands-on programming that centers on the most critical issues of the day through lectures, classes, arts and entertainment, and recreation. In lieu of a physical assembly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the interactive CHQ Assembly collective will continue to provide access to dynamic content experiences that explore the very best in human values and enrichment through education and conversation.

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Chautauqua Institution and Mather Announce Partnership

Collaboration Will Enrich and Enhance Lives of Those 55+

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y., and EVANSTON, ILL.— Recognizing the opportunity of collaboration to better reach and serve the nation’s 55-plus population, Chautauqua Institution and Mather, a nearly 80-year-old not-for-profit organization, have entered into partnership to jointly pursue research and programming to engage and enrich lives.

The partnership is composed of three primary components: connecting communities for enriching online engagement; conducting research to inform services and support to adults 55-plus; and sharing research findings via online programming.

“This partnership signals the opportunities before us now that we will have a robust online expression of Chautauqua’s mission,” said Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work in new and exciting ways with an organization of Mather’s distinction that also has a mission that is perfectly aligned with ours.”

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From the President: You're Invited to CHQ Assembly

CHQ Assembly

Chautauqua Proudly Launches the New Online Expression of Its Mission

Dear Chautauquans,

It is with great enthusiasm that I invite you to join us for CHQ Assembly, the online expression of Chautauqua’s mission that will host our 2020 Summer Assembly programs and experiences — and keep us connected and engaged year-round.

CHQ Assembly creates a way for us to gather and engage this summer for the 147th Chautauqua Assembly, when we are unable to attend Chautauqua face-to-face due to COVID-19 concerns. It is composed of five separate but interconnected digital properties — think of them as online venues — where video content, online conversations, master and enrichment classes, and virtual experiences will be offered and presented.

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Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2020 New Play Workshop Series to be Broadcast Online

Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2020 New Play Workshop Series to be Broadcast Online

Chautauqua Institution’s New CHQ Assembly Platform to Feature Works by Charly Evon Simpson and Heather Raffo

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, will preserve its commitment to new work development by presenting virtual workshops of Charly Evon Simpson’s it’s not a trip it’s a journey, directed by Nicole A. Watson, on July 15, and Heather Raffo’s Tomorrow Will Be Sunday (working title), directed by Jenny Koons, on July 22. Both New Play Workshop performances will be offered at no cost; viewers will be encouraged to provide a donation to benefit Chautauqua Institution’s Arts Education initiatives in local schools.

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Chautauqua School of Dance to Engage Students Online in 2020 

Chautauqua Institution today announced its School of Dance will present a four-week intensive online program for the summer of 2020.

The Chautauqua Online School of Dance will present valued aspects of the traditional School of Dance program alongside new programming designed to explore and take advantage of the virtual learning environment. The online experience is aligned with Chautauqua Institution’s decision to move its programming online in 2020 in lieu of in-person gatherings, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Chautauqua Online School of Dance is structured to provide key elements of technical development along with innovative approaches to community-building to inspire student growth as artists this summer and beyond. Students will have the unique opportunity for our dancers to have access to renowned artistic directors such as Alonzo King, Julie Kent, Peter Boal and Paul Vasterling. 

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Chautauqua School of Music to Engage Students Online in 2020 

Chautauqua Institution today announced its School of Music will present a four-week intensive online program for the summer of 2020.

The Chautauqua Online School of Music will present valued aspects of the traditional School of Music program alongside new programming designed to explore and take advantage of the virtual learning environment. The online experience is aligned with Chautauqua Institution’s decision to move its programming online in 2020 in lieu of in-person gatherings, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Chautauqua Online School of Music is structured to provide key elements of musical development along with innovative approaches to community-building to inspire student growth as artists this summer and beyond.  Each week will feature themes relevant to artist development, including “Innovation and the 21st Century Musician,” “Artistic Development and Personal Wellness,” “Arts Career Development and Enhancement” and “Conversations with CHQ Distinguished Alumni.”  

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Chautauqua Opera Company reinvents 2020 season to live on CHQ Assembly

Chautauqua Opera Company 2020 Season

Virtual Young Artist Program and nine weeks of digital operatic content to be released on Chautauqua Institution’s new online platform

The Chautauqua Opera Company, following the suspension of all face-to-face programming at Chautauqua Institution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been working diligently to rebuild a socially distanced 2020 company this summer. Honoring the company’s commitment to support the artists and artisans who were to make up the physical 2020 company, Chautauqua Opera has engaged more than 40 company members who will come together virtually to create nine weeks of digital operatic content. In addition to creating digital content, Chautauqua Opera will support and foster the growth of the 20 Young Artists who were engaged for the 2020 season by creating a virtual Young Artist Program, which will provide these artists with opportunities for connection, coaching, and mentorship with professionals in the field and Chautauqua Opera staff.

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Statement from President Michael E. Hill

Like everyone else, I have been watching the events of the past week with a mix of horror and pride: horror that we still live in a society that perpetuates systemic racism, hatred and cruelty, and pride that people who refuse to accept this are standing up and making their voices heard. At Chautauqua, we have been sharing the words of speakers who have given their lives to dismantling systemic racism as a way to shine a light on what we think we can all do to make a better society. This is the mission of Chautauqua: to put a spotlight on the issues most impacting society and to present leading voices who can help us all grapple with those issues and to find a path ahead. We believe that giving a platform to those leading major movements is core to our mission and the best way we can make an impact.

In recent days some have decried this approach as “tone deaf,” indicating that unless the Institution puts out an explicit statement that we are complicit. I’ve wrested with this, not because I have any confusion about where we stand, but mostly because I feel we have consistently, at least in my four years as President, drawn a bright line in the sand about our belief that any society that does not value the dignity of all people is a flawed society. Colleagues of mine who have given their entire life to the struggle to eradicate racism have counseled me that what I can do as a white man of privilege is “to do my work.” I have committed to that, as I can only control my own actions. I believe that’s what we each need to do.

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Chautauqua Nominated in National "Best Small Town Cultural Scene" USA Today Contest

Chautauqua Institution is pleased to share that a panel of experts and USA Today 10Best editors have chosen Chautauqua as a nominee for their 2020 Readers' Choice award for the “Best Small Town Cultural Scene” category.

The public is invited to vote daily from June 1 to June 28 for Chautauqua, one of 20 nominees. All votes can be submitted by individuals who are at least 18 years old by going to 10best.com/awards. USA Today’s 10Best.com provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. Chautauqua region neighbor the National Comedy Center was recently chosen as the Best New Museum in the Country.

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Learning from Chautauqua Voices on Race and Justice

Dear Chautauquans,

My heart aches for the hurt in our nation. The recent headlines remind me how much work we all need to do to heal divisions. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who are hurting during this scary time as old systemic wounds of racism are again laid bare, a reminder that they are unresolved and unattended to, all while we grapple with a virus that has leveled the world. It is at moments like these that I search for words to make sense of what is simply senseless. Words fail me right now, but they do not fail the voices we have presented at Chautauqua, prophetic voices of change, voices calling us to live more fully our creed of seeking the best in human values.

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Petina Gappah’s ‘Out of Darkness, Shining Light’ Wins 2020 Chautauqua Prize

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Author Will Give Reading as Part of Chautauqua’s 2020 Online Assembly

Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light (Scribner) as the 2020 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.

As author of the winning book, Gappah receives $7,500, and will be presented with the Prize — and give a public reading — during a celebratory event at a date to be determined as part of Chautauqua Institution’s online assembly season this summer.

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Joseph Earl Thomas Wins Third Annual Chautauqua Janus Prize

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Author Will Give Lecture, Reading as Part of Chautauqua’s 2020 Online Assembly 

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Reality Marble” by Joseph Earl Thomas as the 2020 winner of the Chautauqua Janus Prize.  

As the author selected from 16 finalists by judge Hilary Plum, Thomas receives $5,000 and will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event at a date to be determined as part of Chautauqua Institution’s online assembly season this summer. His writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua.   

Hailing from Philadelphia, Thomas is a doctoral student in English at the University of Pennsylvania whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offing, Gulf Coast and The Kenyon Review. Being an emerging writer, Thomas said, means “applying and submitting to hundreds of places where you feel the work might fit or be in conversation with other art you love and admire,” and he was surprised and honored for his work to be selected for the Janus Prize, “which thinks so deliberately about aesthetics and the social world simultaneously.”  

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Seven Finalists Named for 2020 Chautauqua Prize

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Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce seven exceptional books as the 2020 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize, now in its ninth year:

  • Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey, by Mikhal Dekel (W.W. Norton)
  • What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance, by Carolyn Forché (Penguin Press)
  • Out of Darkness, Shining Light, by Petina Gappah (Scribner)
  • Feast Your Eyes, by Myla Goldberg (Scribner)
  • The Parisian, by Isabella Hammad (Grove Press)
  • Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, by Imani Perry (Beacon Press)
  • Bangkok Wakes to Rain, by Pitchaya Sudbanthad (Riverhead Books)

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

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Chautauqua Institution to Offer Online Programs in Lieu of In-Person Programming

Chautauqua Institution’s Board of Trustees Friday voted unanimously to approve a resolution that calls for no in-person programming on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution for the summer of 2020. Depending on government and public health regulations and guidelines, the Institution may operate a limited range of facilities and services, such as dock installation and service, recreation facilities, and food service, targeted for property owners. 

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From the President: Moving Our 2020 Assembly Online

May 2, 2020

Dear Chautauqua Family, 

I write today with a message I never conceived I would need to convey, but one that is necessary for the health, wellness and safety of our beloved community. Late yesterday our Board of Trustees decided unanimously and with moral clarity to suspend any in-person programs on our sacred Western New York grounds this summer. We will not be convening as we usually do, but rather in a new, online space, as a distributed but still tightly knit community of lifelong learners and lovers of the arts, education, interfaith and recreational programming. I invite you to read the news release at this link, and to view the above video, in which I provide a few remarks and then participate in a traditional Chautauqua Q-and-A session. Much more information will of course be shared in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to gather with you as soon as possible after the board’s decision to hear your thoughts and to share some of my own. 

I share in the collective heartbreak and grief this decision is sure to evoke. I assure you — after weeks of careful and painstaking analysis by our amazing and dedicated staff and trustees, in consultation with governmental and other leaders and public health experts — that this is the right decision, to ensure the safety of our community, our region and our future. We are so grateful to all those within the Chautauqua community who have reached out in recent weeks to offer your counsel and expertise, or simply your heartfelt sentiments and well-wishes as we collectively confront a world-historic moment marked by uncertainty, grief and suffering.  

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Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra to Perform at Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Aug. 22

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Aretha Franklin Tribute Concert Marks First-ever Performance Outside Chautauqua Grounds for 91-year-old CSO

Chautauqua Institution today announced that the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will bring its unmistakable sound and artistry to downtown Jamestown’s Reg Lenna Center for the Arts with a performance featuring the music of Aretha Franklin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. The concert is made possible by the Fund for Downtown Programming awarded through the Jamestown Local Development Corporation and made possible by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

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(UPDATED 4/30) Outcomes of Board of Trustees meeting to be shared Saturday, May 2

2020 Season Update

On May 2, 2020, our Board of Trustees decided unanimously and with moral clarity to suspend any in-person programs on our sacred Western New York grounds this summer. We will not be convening as we usually do, but rather in a new, online space, as a distributed but still tightly knit community of lifelong learners and lovers of the arts, education, interfaith and recreational programming. View and read President Michael Hill's message to our community at chq.org/update.

Refunds
The Institution is offering full refunds for services, gate passes, Athenaeum Hotel reservations, and single event tickets. The Chautauqua Ticket Office and Athenaeum Hotel will be reaching out to patrons via email to facilitate the refund process. Patrons are asked to avoid contacting the Chautauqua Ticket Office or the Athenaeum Hotel via phone during this time as call volumes are expected to be very high, and our staffing is limited.

If you have a specific question, please email the Ticket Office at ticketoffice@chq.org and staff will respond as quickly as possible. The Institution will be posting frequently asked questions and responses on the webpage chq.org/update, where questions can also be submitted. We look forward to engaging you in a new kind of Chautauqua Assembly this summer, and to a time when we can all safely be together again. Be safe and well.

 
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