News & Announcements

Jeb Bush, Sir Ken Robinson, Diane Ravitch, Beloved Chautauqua Community Traditions Headline Week Six of the 2020 CHQ Assembly

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Six of its 2020 season. The week, which begins Aug. 1 and concludes Aug. 8, features presentations released on the new digital collective called CHQ Assembly. Week Six includes renowned guests such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; world-renowned educational leader Ken Robinson; education historian and researcher Diane Ravitch; and a number of beloved Chautauqua community traditions recreated in the CHQ Assembly space in lieu of in-person celebrations. 

Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week season features weekday lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. Week Six focuses on “Rebuilding Public Education,” a topic that assumes even more urgency as local, state and national leaders reach critical decision points on how to best and most safely provide an education for students and essential services for families. The 10:45 a.m. EDT Chautauqua Lecture Series will also look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2020 election, to help us understand how we might build more integrated and equitable public schools and best prepare our children for careers and as citizens in a rapidly changing world.

The 2 p.m. EDT Interfaith Lecture Series is themed “Lessons in the School House,” in which we examine the legacy of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling striking down school-sponsored prayer more than 55 years ago. In this week, we look at the importance of teaching both religious cultural literacy — as opposed to religion — as well as ethical literacy in our public schools for the purpose of creating an ethically and culturally informed citizenry. 

The Rev. Leslie Callahan will serve as guest chaplain for the week. She will participate in services at 10:45 a.m. EDT Sunday and at 9:15 a.m. EDT weekday. Callahan is the first female pastor at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia, installed on May 17, 2009. She was ordained in 1997 at Judson Memorial Church and served as Minister of Christian Education at the First Baptist Church of Princeton, New Jersey.

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



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Sir Ken Robinson looks at the state of education in the U.S. Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, who works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations.

Interfaith Lecture Series: Judy Beals discusses advancing public understanding of religion and building a peaceful society. Beals is the associate director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project, building the institutional foundation, strategy and sustainability of the RLP and its core programs.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: To be announced.

Interfaith Lecture Series: Benjamin Marcus examines religious literacy and religious constructs in society. Marcus is the religious literacy specialist with the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute, where he studies the intersection of education, religious literacy and identity formation.


Chautauqua Lecture Series: Jeb Bush speaks on the work being done by his Foundation for Excellence in Education to foster bold and transformational education reform. Bush was the 43rd governor of the state of Florida, serving from 1999 through 2007.

Interfaith Lecture Series: Linda K. Wertheimer discusses ways to fight religious bigotry and teach religion in an intolerant world. Wertheimer is the award-winning author of Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in An Age of Intolerance.



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Renowned public education advocate Diane Ravitchexplores how the history of public education can inform its future. Ravitch is a research professor of education at New York University and founder and president of the Network for Public Education.

Interfaith Lecture SeriesAri Goldman discusses education of religion and how it’s covered in the news. Goldman has taught at the Columbia Journalism School since 1993 and is director of the school’s Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism, and the Spiritual Life. 



Chautauqua Lecture Series: Carey Wright, state superintendent of education for Mississippi, details the reforms that have delivered unprecedented academic success and rising student achievement for her state’s students.

Interfaith Fridays: Chautauqua continues its Interfaith Fridays series, this week featuring an Orthodox Jewish perspective from Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director emeritus of the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA.



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

4 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3 • Chautauqua Chamber Music: Chautauqua partners with Cantus for Week Six’s Chautauqua Chamber Music series. Cantus is an internationally recognized men’s vocal ensemble is widely known for its innovative programming and its engaging performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century.

5 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3 • Cocktails, Concerts and ConversationsChautauqua Opera Company’s Steven Osgood and guest host Chauncey Packer provide a musical performance followed by conversation. Featured Young Artists include Eric Botto and Jared Esguerra.

5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: The world-renowned and visionary company, Pilobolus, will be represented by co-artistic directors Renee Jaworski and Matt Kent alongside Chautauqua Dance Artistic Advisor Sasha Janes for an evening of conversation about the company’s career.

8:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4 • Into the Music with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra:  Three of the CSO’s principal woodwind players — flutist Richard Sherman, clarinetist Eli Eban and bassoonist Jeffrey Robinson — perform in trios, duos and solos, accompanied by Piano Program Co-chair Nicola Melville. 

4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 5 • Afternoon Recital: The Chautauqua Piano Program presents An Afternoon Piano Recital with pianist Christopher Taylor.

10 a.m. EDT Thursday, Aug 6 • 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, Aug. 6 • Cocktails, Concerts and Conversations: The “Recitals with Rossen” series features world-renowned violinist Ilya Kaler. Each summer, Kaler serves on the faculty of Chautauqua’s School of Music and performs frequently at Chautauqua. 



Saturday, Aug. 1 Registration Deadline • Old First Night Run/Walk: Chautauqua’s ever-popular Old First Night Run/Walk is exclusively a virtual race this season. Instructions and a participant’s point-of-view video of the traditional course are available at Online registration will close on Saturday, Aug. 1. Registered participants will receive a special-edition 2020 T-shirt.

7 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4 • Old First Night: Since just after its founding, Chautauqua has celebrated its birthday on the first Tuesday of August, known as Old First Night. This year’s celebration will be held on the Virtual Porch and feature some beloved traditions such as an observance of the Chautauqua Vesper Service, the Drooping of the Lilies in remembrance, singing of the Chautauqua Children's School and Boys' and Girls' Club songs, traditional roll calls and "Happy Birthday" song.

3:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 5 • CLSC Recognition Day: The Chautauqua community celebrates the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Class of 2020, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Class, conducting the traditional CLSC graduation ceremony on the Virtual Porch.

Thursday, Aug. 6 • Library Day: Library Day is an annual celebration of The Smith Memorial Library at Chautauqua that this year will take place online — for more details on how to participate, visit



3:30 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3: The Rev. Robert M. Franklin Jr., president emeritus of Morehouse College and former director of Chautauqua’s Department of Religion, moderates a community conversation on inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) based on engagement in the recently launched Mirror Project ( The Mirror Project a joint initiative of the African American Heritage House and Chautauqua Institution.

3:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4: The Chautauqua Women's Club Contemporary Issues Forum features Leslie Przybylek, senior curator at the Smithsonian-associated Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. An accomplished humanities curator, Przybylek explores connections between regional history, identity and national events.

3:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 5: Meria Carstarphen continues the African American Heritage House Lecture Series with a lecture titled “The New Reconstruction: Transforming Education for the 21st Century. Carstarphen is the former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. 

3:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 6Bruce Holsinger presents his book The Gifted School, a fiction novel set in Crystal, Colorado, centered around drama within a community. Holsinger is a novelist and literary scholar based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 7Gary Moore discusses the evolution of toilette paper, as well as the history of other options in this week’s Heritage Lecture. Moore is a longtime Heritage Lecture Series presenter and currently works at North Carolina State University.



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. Guests must order 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.



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.