News & Announcements

Chautauqua Institution Inaugurates the Leon and Gloria Plevin Family Museum Lecture Series

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Chautauqua Institution this week launches a new endowed lecture series with a presentation by Jill Snyder, Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (moCa Cleveland), at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 28, in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. This event is free and open to the public. 

The Leon and Gloria Plevin Family Museum Director Lecture Series was established to present the unique personal and professional perspectives of institutional leaders from around the country by examining the innovations, challenges, and changing landscapes of museums today. This new endowment for the visual arts was established in honor of the late Leon Plevin, Gloria Plevin’s husband, who was an advocate and supporter of visual arts, especially at Chautauqua and in Cleveland, where Gloria and her family spent most of their lives.    

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President Michael E. Hill Opens 146th Chautauqua Assembly with ‘Three Taps’ Address

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Following an introduction to Chautauqua Institution’s new strategic plan, 150 Forward, President Michael E. Hill on Sunday morning tapped a historic gavel three times to officially open the Institution’s 146th Assembly. Hill’s “Three Taps” address, marking the traditional and formal start to a Chautauqua season, was titled “Walking the Tightrope Between History and Innovation,” and gave Chautauqua community members gathered a synopsis of the recently approved strategic plan, including a strong rebuke of hatred and bigotry. The remarks preceded the Institution’s popular Sunday worship service, which this particular morning featured a historic twist — for the first time at Chautauqua, the sermon was delivered by a rabbi chaplain in residence, Rabbi Sharon Brous, senior and founding rabbi of IKAR in Los Angeles.

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Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2017 New Play Workshop ‘Birthday Candles’ Goes to Broadway

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Will Star Debra Messing and be Directed by Former CTC Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch

Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, is pleased to announce that its 2017 New Play Workshop Birthday Candles by Noah Haidle will be opening on Broadway in 2019–2020 season. Former CTC artistic director Vivienne Benesch will direct the Broadway premiere at the Roundabout Theatre Company, and the production will star Debra Messing, best known for her lead role in the NBC television series "Will & Grace."

Birthday Candles was originally commissioned by Detroit Public Theater (DPT) in the fall of 2016. In the summer of 2017, it received a workshop production at CTC, directed by Benesch. Benesch followed the production to DPT where it received a world premiere in May 2018. This is the first time DPT and CTC have partnered in this way: from DPT’s commission, to CTC’s workshop performance and back to DPT’s world premiere.

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Chautauqua Board Elects Candace Littell Maxwell as Chair

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Term begins Oct. 1; Decision marks first time a woman will serve as chair 

At its quarterly business meeting today, the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees elected as its next Chair Candace (Candy) Littell Maxwell of Wilmington, Delaware. Maxwell is a retired strategic advisor with more than 30 years of diverse experience in business leadership, governance, policy, and strategy. In October 2018, she completed eight years of service on the Institution’s Board of Trustees, during which time she served on the Board’s Special Committee on Amphitheater-Related Issues, on the Presidential Search Committee, and as Chair of the Audit Committee, as well as other committees and working groups.

“Candy is viewed not only as having significant experience on Chautauqua’s Board, but as someone whose Board service and professional career are marked by a spirit of collaboration that is grounded in a strong background in finance, business, leadership, and strategy,” said James Pardo, current Chair of the Board of Trustees. Pardo’s term as Chair will conclude October 1 when Maxwell’s term begins.

Most recently, Maxwell served as a member of the Board’s Strategic Planning Working Group, a team composed of volunteer leaders and executive staff who worked for more than a year to lead the process that resulted in the formulation of the next strategic plan for Chautauqua Institution (click here to read a separate announcement about 150 Forward).

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Chautauqua Trustees Approve Strategic Plan

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150 Forward to be made public in June, calls for bold new response 

At its quarterly business meeting today, the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan for the Institution titled 150 Forward. The plan was developed over the past year and a half following wide community consultation, market research, and externally advised analysis. The plan will guide strategic decision making over the next 10 years, leading up to the Institution’s 150th anniversary in 2024 and beyond.

Framed within the context of Chautauqua’s mission to “… explore the best in human values and the enrichment of life …,” the plan for the first time names values that guide the organization and an overarching goal that frames the 10-year key objectives of the plan as follows:

  1. Optimize the summer assembly season on the Chautauqua Grounds to provide a first-class experience around the arts, education, religion, and recreation;
  2. Expand Chautauqua’s convening authority year round to broaden its impact beyond the summer assembly season;
  3. Drive the implementation of a comprehensive, science-based approach to improving the health and sustainability of Chautauqua Lake and elevate its conservation as the centerpiece of the region’s economic prosperity; and
  4. Grow and diversify revenue to address critical needs, increase financial resiliency, and fund Chautauqua’s future.
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Chautauqua Institution Signs On to Consensus Strategy for Chautauqua Lake Conservation

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Chautauqua Institution today announced that it has signed on to the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy championed by Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. The MOA seeks to bring together lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake, so they can more effectively work together to manage invasive aquatic plants, nuisance native vegetation, and hazardous algal blooms in the lake while being considerate of the lake and its watershed’s economic, recreational and ecological significance. Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill signed the MOA on the Institution’s behalf.

“I proudly signed this memorandum on behalf of Chautauqua Institution because it represents the comprehensive and scientifically sound approach for Chautauqua Lake conservation that we’ve been advocating for many years,” Hill said. “We are hopeful that all other agencies and municipalities will join us in signing the MOA and supporting this incredibly important strategy. We thank County Executive Borrello for his resolute leadership on this crucial issue. While Chautauqua Lake faces many challenges, we’re confident that with an independently sourced, science-based comprehensive approach and the support and leadership of a consensus of stakeholders, we will save and preserve Chautauqua Lake as the source of so much of our livelihood in Chautauqua County.”

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My Tran Wins Second Chautauqua Janus Prize

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Author Will Give Public Lecture and Reading at Chautauqua Institution 

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Tree rings, like concentric ghosts” by My Tran as the 2019 winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize.

As the author selected from eight finalists by judge Vi Khi Nao, Tran receives $5,000, elevated this year from the original prize of $2,500, plus all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua during the 2019 summer season. Tran will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event with music and refreshments at a date to be determined on the Institution’s grounds. Their writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua

Tran said they were honored to be chosen for a prize that celebrates formal innovation.

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Prayers for Christchurch, from Chautauqua

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Dear Chautauquans,

We stand with Muslims around the world in grieving the acts of hatred and murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. Chautauqua Institution remains steadfast in its commitment to interfaith dialogue and engagement that build bridges and foster understanding across difference. Interfaith understanding doesn’t just happen — it takes work and study and face-to-face interactions with Muslims. That is why Chautauqua, through its Department of Religion, strives to bring leading Muslim voices to our 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture Series and our Interfaith Fridays series. Ours is an emphasis on interfaith learning and respect that has gone on at Chautauqua for more than two decades.

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Board of Trustees Extends President Michael E. Hill’s Contract

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Hill to Pursue Doctoral Degree

The Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees has extended President Michael E. Hill’s appointment for three years, through Dec. 31, 2021, following its annual review of presidential and institutional performance last month. Hill, who was appointed in 2016 and began his work at Chautauqua on Jan. 1, 2017, is the 18th president of the nearly 150-year-old Institution.

“Michael has met or exceeded all of our expectations in his first two years of service, and he has outlined an ambitious agenda for the future of our beloved Institution,” said James A. Pardo Jr., chair of the Board of Trustees. “The Board approved his contract extension with great excitement and anticipation for the future.”

Hill and others currently are in the final stages of a comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning process that is outlining the Institution’s priorities over the next five to 10 years. As part of this process, Hill’s vision to expand Chautauqua’s impact beyond the summer assembly season and beyond the grounds of Chautauqua’s historic campus has been tested and reaffirmed. The plan is scheduled to be approved by the Board in May and released to the community in June.

“It has been a true honor to engage with the Chautauqua community and to understand its aspirations and potential in the world,” Hill said. “I am thrilled by the Board’s confidence in my leadership and vision, and I look forward to building on the extraordinary experiences and conversations that we convene here on the grounds during the summer months and to also bring them to a world that is calling for Chautauqua’s multidisciplinary brand of positive, action-oriented dialogue and engagement.”

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Chautauqua School of Art and Pratt Institute Announce Groundbreaking Partnership

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Inaugural Pratt/VACI Fellowship in Pedagogy a First-of-its-kind Opportunity

Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art this week announced a series of new and reconfirmed partnerships designed to increase awareness of the renowned summer program and to provide its students with more attractive financial aid packages. Spearheaded by Sharon Louden, Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), the new partnership initiative features as its centerpiece the inaugural Pratt/VACI Fellowship in Pedagogy, an innovative collaboration developed by Pratt Fine Arts Department, the Center for Teaching and Learning at Pratt Institute and VACI.

“As I’ve traveled and visited with many artists, educators, students around the country, it’s become clear to me that there’s a gap in our education system for artists who would like to teach— artists don’t often learn how to teach when they are in college seeking a MFA,” said Louden, an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books. “My hope in partnering with Pratt on this groundbreaking fellowship is to provide a model for how we might educate the next generation of artists to teach as well as give direction on how to apply, interview, negotiate and secure a teaching job, where to apply our skills to teach outside of higher education, and actively encourage artists to participate in explorations around new pedagogies.”

This first-of-its-kind fellowship, which is fully-funded, enables a Pratt Institute Fine Arts graduate student to attend the summer program and to teach a course through the training of VACI core-faculty member Hasan Elahi, who will teach the “Art of Pedagogy” component within the residency program. Elahi is an artist, associate professor at the University of Maryland and board member of Creative Capital. After the summer residency concludes, the fellow will return to Pratt Institute and share their new knowledge with Pratt Institute students and faculty.

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Chautauqua School of Art Announces Partnerships with Renowned Art Schools

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Agreements to Provide Increased Financial Assistance to Students of Summer Program

Chautauqua Institution’s School of Art this week announced a series of new and reconfirmed partnerships designed to increase awareness of the renowned summer program and to provide its students with more attractive financial aid packages. The partnerships, spearheaded by Sharon Louden, recently appointed as the Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI), represent a number of reaffirmed and completely new relationships for Chautauqua’s visual arts program with celebrated higher-education programs around the United States.

“I’m incredibly excited to announce these new partnerships, and grateful to these schools for their commitment to their students and affirmation of the value of VACI’s program,” said Louden, an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books. “To provide the students who attend these schools and Chautauqua’s School of Art residency with extra financial resources is a gift that will assists artists who would never have the opportunity to attend, and allow them to more deeply experience their time in our program.”

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Joseph Gerace Named Director of Campus Security and Safety

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Former Chautauqua County Sheriff Will Also Become Institution's Chief of Police Upon Alan Akin's Retirement Later This Year

Chautauqua Institution this week announced the appointment of Joseph Gerace as Director of Campus Security and Safety. Gerace, the highly respected former Chautauqua County sheriff, is responsible for enacting recommendations from the Institution's recently established Security Master Plan, and will take command of the Institution's police department upon the planned retirement of longtime chief Alan Akin in the fall of 2019. 

As sheriff, Gerace played a foundational role in forming and maintaining the Sheriff's Office's close partnership with Chautauqua Institution, where campus police personnel are officers who hold appointments as special deputy sheriffs.

"We are elated to welcome Joe to our year-round staff. His leadership as sheriff ensured the safety and security of multiple generations of Institution residents and visitors, and this community is fortunate to benefit now even more directly from his experience and service," said John Shedd, the Institution's vice president of campus planning and operations. "Through Joe's leadership, our security personnel will continue to provide the delicate balance of enforcement, preventive security tactics, and exceptional community relations acumen cultivated for decades under Al's command. We are grateful for Al's dedicated service to Chautauqua, and we look forward to celebrating his many contributions throughout the coming months.”

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Chautauqua Golf Club Receives National Accolades from Golf Advisor


Golf WebLake Course Named to Top Five U.S. Publicly Assessible Courses Rated by Playing Conditions

The Chautauqua Golf Club’s Lake Course has been named one of Golf Advisor’s Best of 2018, ranking No. 5 in the website’s listing of the publicly accessible courses that delivered the best playing conditions. The national recognition, released at GolfAdvisor.com earlier this month, is based on feedback from the website's community of reviewers. In its listing of Chautauqua Golf Club, Golf Advisor highlights one review from a golfer who praises each of the club’s 18-hole courses, the Lake Course and the Hill Course, stating, "Both courses [were] in excellent shape, and I don't mean for a public course. They would presently rival most country clubs in the Buffalo area right now." Many other reviews posted at GolfAdvisor.com also specifically applaud Chautauqua Golf Club’s excellent playing conditions.

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Toys for Tots Accepted at Chautauqua Bookstore, Colonnade

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Chautauqua Institution is pleased to support the 2018 Chautauqua County Toys for Tots campaign, led by our neighbors at The Resource Center in Jamestown. Chautauquans and visitors to the grounds are encouraged to drop off unwrapped children’s toys at the Chautauqua Bookstore (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily) or the Colonnade lobby (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Winter Village weekends).

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Chautauqua Institution to Celebrate Giving Tuesday with Special Match Opportunity, Sweepstakes

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On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Chautauqua Institution joins individuals, families and non-profit organizations from all 50 states and in countries around the world for Giving Tuesday. This growing, global movement celebrates the collective gifts shared in community with one another. At Chautauqua, these are gifts of artistic expression, lifelong learning, multi-generational experiences, and treasured moments that lift up the best of human values.

Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, the Institution invites the community to join an online celebration. On its social media channels, namely Facebook at facebook.com/chq1874, there will be a series of special video announcements, and updates on educational and community engagement initiatives for Chautauqua County students.

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Chautauqua Opera Company's Steven Osgood Awarded Two-year Contract Extension

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General and Artistic Director’s Agreement Comes as Company Plans 90th Anniversary Celebration

Chautauqua Institution today announced a two-year contract extension for Steven R. Osgood, general and artistic director of the Chautauqua Opera Company. The extension follows Osgood’s standout first three seasons with the company, and ensures that he will remain at its helm through the 2020 season. The announcement comes as Osgood prepares to conduct three performances of The Turn of the Screw with the Juilliard Opera in the coming days, and as the Chautauqua Opera Company prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2019, featuring the Beaumarchais Trilogy Weekend.

“We are so pleased with the evolution and continued vibrancy of the Chautauqua Opera Company under Steven Osgood’s leadership,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts. “Steve’s infectious passion for opera is evident in all that he does, and he has quickly endeared himself to fans of both classical and contemporary opera in our community. At the same time, he has re-energized opera as an art form at Chautauqua, making it accessible to entirely new communities and generations of arts lovers.”

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Chautauqua Institution Launches 2018 Winter Village at Chautauqua

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Continuing a new tradition launched last year, Chautauqua Institution will host the 2018 Winter Village at Chautauqua on selected weekends starting Nov. 23 through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. The festivities will highlight on-grounds shopping and dining, and include special events such as musical performances, wine and food pairing dinners, Breakfast with Santa, horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides, and other seasonal activities.

The 2018 Winter Village kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, when the holiday lights and displays on Bestor Plaza will be illuminated for the first time of the season. On-ground shops and restaurants will be invited to stay open late that night, and holiday music will fill the plaza. Santa will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage to signal the launch of Chautauqua’s Winter Village and the holiday season. Highlights of opening weekend include wine tasting and small plates, Holiday Story Time at the Smith Memorial Library and Lloyd’s Food Truck and holiday beer selections.

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Chautauqua Lake Advocates Learn from the Lake George Experience

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In order to benefit from the lake and watershed conservation experience of another lake community in New York, Chautauqua Lake stakeholders including representatives of Chautauqua Institution, SUNY Fredonia, and Chautauqua County government earlier this month visited Lake George, New York, where an innovative new model for lake and watershed management is working to save and maintain one of New York’s most famous lakes. Lake George has faced similar environmental concerns as Chautauqua Lake and most of New York’s fresh waters, including the negative impacts of human activity in its watershed and infestations of aquatic invasive species.

The Chautauqua group on Oct. 10 spent a full day with the leaders and researchers of the Jefferson Project, a public-private partnership that uses sound, validated science to spur decisions that have greatly improved the lake’s health and water quality.

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Matt Ewalt named Vice President, Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education

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Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill announced the appointment of Matt Ewalt to the position of vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, effective Sept. 24. Ewalt has served Chautauqua in various capacities since 2006, most recently as chief of staff. 

In his new role, Ewalt continues to lead the Institution’s 10:45 a.m. Amphitheater lecture platform, and now also oversees education, youth and literary arts programs. The change comes as part of a leadership reorganization to, in part, better resource the lecture platform and work related to developing the weekly program themes for Chautauqua’s summer season.

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Athenaeum Hotel Hosts Farm-to-Table Culinary Getaway Weekend, Oct. 19-21

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Package Includes Meals, Demonstrations and Workshops Showcasing Fall in Chautauqua County and Region

The Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce its 2018 Farm-to-Table Culinary Getaway Weekend, Oct. 19–21. Food and fall lovers are invited to spend the weekend at the Athenaeum Hotel and enjoy exquisite locally sourced cuisine, hands-on workshops and the beauty of Chautauqua Institution and Chautauqua County in the fall.

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