News & Announcements

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. 

Week Three also marks the beginning of the Chautauqua Online School of Music, a four-week intensive program designed to present valued aspects of the traditional School of Music program alongside new approaches that explore and take advantage of the virtual learning environment. 

Fr. Greg Boyle will serve as ecumenical guest chaplain for the week, preaching during services at 10:45 a.m. EDT Sunday and at each 9:15 a.m. EDT weekday. Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world and served as a Jesuit priest from 1986 to 1992.

Further details on all programs, including where to access them within the suite of CHQ Assembly platforms, are available at



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Anna Deavere Smith explores issues of community, character and diversity in America. Best known for crafting more than 15 one-woman shows drawn from hundreds of interviews, the actress and playwright interweaves her presentations with portrayals of her interviewees to illustrate the diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues.

Interfaith Lecture Series: Ori Soltes brings his background in art history, theology, philosophy and political history back to Chautauqua. Soltes, who teaches at Georgetown University, is the former Director of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, and has curated more than 85 exhibitions on history, ethnography and modern and contemporary art there and at other venues across the country and overseas.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Darren Walker examines how transformational philanthropy strengthens the intersection of arts and social justice. Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making.

Interfaith Lecture Series: David Moss details his career as a self-described transformer of Jewish texts, objects, spaces and souls. The Jerusalem-based artist is co-founder of Kol HaOt, which harnesses the power of the arts for Jewish inspiration and education. He began his career in Jewish art when he fell in love with Hebrew calligraphy.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Tricia Rose will speak on her work as director of Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, which assembles scholars and practitioners for various programs and initiatives that foster creative approaches to entrenched social problems through research, scholarship, education, performance and art.

Interfaith Lecture Series: Eugene Friesen discusses his artistry as a cellist and composer and creates a “prayer in concert.” Friesen is a four-time Grammy Award winner and has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Martin Sexton, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Dar Williams, Will Ackerman and Dream Theater.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Paula A. Kerger discusses “PBS American Portrait,” a storytelling project highlighting who we are as Americans. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization, with more than 330-member stations throughout the country.

Interfaith Lecture SeriesAzzah Sultan details her art and work, which strive to transcend the fallacy that Muslim women like herself are oppressed by the nature of their religious customs. Sultan is a celebrated artist who has studied at Parsons School of Design, and who is working to receive an MFA shortly from Washington State University.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Aaron Bryant shares the work of leading the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s rapid-response collecting initiative, which is tasked with documenting, in real-time, artifacts from events shaping American life to help archivists, historians and the public more fully process them later. Bryant is a curator of photography, visual culture and contemporary history at the museum.

Interfaith Fridays: Chautauqua continues its Interfaith Fridays series, this week featuring Eryl and Wayman Kubicka on Buddhism, which they have practiced for decades. Both Eryl and Wayman have been teachers of Buddhist meditation in Chautauqua’s Mystic Heart Program for ten years. The two married in 1970 and were involved with the American Friends Service Committee in post-war reconstruction projects.



Aside from daily lectures, Week Three features a variety of artistic offerings across the CHQ Assembly platforms.

4 p.m. EDT Monday, July 13 • Chautauqua Chamber Music: Pianist Brian Zeger, violinist Nurit Pacht and cellist Tobias Werner perform music by Dvořák, Block, Janáček and Bartók. Zeger appears regularly on the guest faculty of Chautauqua’s Voice Program and is widely recognized as one of today’s leading collaborative pianists. Pacht is a top prize-winner in international competitions including the Irving Klein International Music Competition. Werner is currently the music director at The Chamber Music Conference of the East.

5 p.m. EDT Monday, July 13 • Cocktails, Concerts and ConversationsChautauqua Opera Company with Steven Osgood and guest host Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek provide a musical performance followed by conversation. Featured Young Artists include Kelly Guerra and Hilary Grace Taylor.

5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 14 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: Julie Kent, former American Ballet Theatre prima ballerina and current artistic director of The Washington Ballet, joins Chautauqua Dance Artistic Advisor Sasha Janes for an evening of conversation about her storied career and the state of ballet in the world today. 

8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 14 • Into the Music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra:  CSO Acting Concertmaster Vahn Armstrong is joined by partner and longtime CSO violist Eva Stern in what promises to be an exciting evening of music and stimulating conversation. 

4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 15 • Afternoon Recital: Chautauqua Piano Programpresents An Afternoon Piano Recital with Sara Davis Buechner.

5 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 15 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: Chautauqua Theater Company and Andrew Borba featuring Joel De La Fuente and Lisa Rothe from the CTC Production "Hold These Truths” perform and join in conversation. 

8:15 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 15 • Chautauqua Theater Company New Play Workshop No. 1: CTC is thrilled to welcome back Charly Evon Simpson to workshop her latest play before it premieres at Round House Theatre in Maryland in spring 2021. it’s not a trip it’s a journey is funny and poetic play about tumbleweed, friendship, being Black and needing to soothe something you don’t always have the words for. Directed by Nicole Watson and followed by live Q-and-A. 

10 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 16 • Weekly Virtual Gallery Tour: Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of Chautauqua Visual Arts Galleries, takes viewers on a tour of 2020 exhibitions, which can be experienced online at CHQ Visual Arts:

5 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 16 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: Recitals with Rossen, hosted by Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra music director Rossen Milanov, will feature music and conversation with Natasha Paremski.

5 p.m. EDT Friday, July 17 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: Gina Chavezreturns to Chautauqua with a special online concert and conversation. A 12-time Austin Music Award winner, including 2019 Female Vocalist and 2015 Austin Musician of the Year, Chavez explores the true meaning of “Americana" as she takes audiences on a high-energy journey through Latin America and beyond.



12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, July 13: Chautauqua School of Music Artistic and Music Director Timothy Muffitt hosts a dialogue on “The Artist as Citizen” with Joseph Polisi, president emeritus and chief China officer of The Juilliard School. The program serves as the keynote to the Chautauqua Online School of Music season.

3:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 14Avivah Wittenberg-Cox details global gender balance and how to adjust to a changed world. Wittenberg-Cox is the CEO of 20-First, a global consulting firm working with companies interested in capturing the competitive advantage of gender, nationality and generational balance.

6:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 14: Kalup Linzy, an interdisciplinary artist and curator, will present the season’s second Chautauqua Visual Arts Lecture. 

3:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 16John Hoppenthaler presents Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard. Hoppenthaler is joined in conversation by Sony Ton-Aime, Chautauqua’s director of literary arts, to discuss this essential work by the American literary giant.  

3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, July  17: Chautauqua Institution archivist and historian Jon Schmitz introduces a 1923 film produced to attract new visitors of Chautauqua, which today provides a wonderful documentation of the Chautauqua grounds and programs at the time.



Chautauqua’s Mystic Heart Meditation Program offers community members daily meditation sessions at 8 a.m. EDT and 1 p.m. EDT throughout the week.

Chautauqua community members will have further opportunities for entertainment and engagement through the Virtual Porch,, including events such as Brown Bag lectures and webinars with Institution leadership.



A complimentary gate pass is required to access the grounds during our 2020 season, whether for a day visit or an extended stay. You must order your passes via phone (716-357-6250) or through our online ticketing portal. Visit The Main Gate Welcome Center is not open to the public. All residents and guests must follow New York state regulations regarding social distancing and wearing cloth facecoverings.



About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.