News & Announcements

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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Matt Ewalt Named Vice President in Institution Leadership Reorganization

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Matt Ewalt, who has served Chautauqua as chief of staff at Chautauqua Institution since 2017, has been named vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education. In this role, Ewalt will continue to lead the 10:45 a.m. lecture platform and theme development work, and will also oversee education, youth, and literary arts programs.

The change comes as part of a reorganization to, in part, better resource the lecture platform and theme development work. David Griffith’s contract as vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education ended as part of this reorganization.

“Following a thorough organizational analysis, which included input from members of the Board of Trustees as well as outside organizational experts, it was determined that we needed to change the way Chautauqua Institution is staffed at the executive level to address a number of priorities,” said Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill. “We are grateful to David Griffith for his service over the past year, during which we achieved increased engagement in youth programs and exciting new partnerships and programs in education and the literary arts.”

The Institution will seek to fill the now-vacant chief of staff position, responsible for implementation and monitoring of the Institution’s strategic plan, and will be creating a new position to oversee development of youth programs, under Ewalt’s leadership.

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Sharon Louden Named Artistic Director of Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution

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Chautauqua Institution today announced the appointment of Sharon Louden as the artistic director and Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Chair of its resident visual arts program, VACI (Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution). In this capacity, Louden will oversee a dynamic department composed of the Chautauqua School of Art, Strohl and Fowler-Kellogg Art Centers, an artist lecture series and growing education and community engagement programs. Louden succeeds Don Kimes, who announced in November his intention to step down following the 2018 Chautauqua season.

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Institution Establishes New Podcast Featuring Conversations with High-Profile Guests

Through Partnership With WRFA, Interviews To Be Broadcast On New Program On 107.9-FM

Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce the launch of its new flagship podcast, “CHQ&A,” featuring interviews with prominent guests who participate in Chautauqua's summer season of programs in the arts, education, interfaith dialogue and recreation. Now with 13 episodes available at podcast.chq.org and on most major podcast platforms, “CHQ&A” aims to provide further insight into the work and thought processes of some of the celebrated individuals who pass through the Institution’s grounds this summer.

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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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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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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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