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About Chautauqua Institution
- Chautauqua Institution is a summer community for the arts, education, religion and recreation.
- A non-profit organization, which is dependent upon philanthropy, through the Chautauqua Foundation, to fulfill its mission.
- It was founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller, an Akron, Ohio, inventor and manufacturer; and John Heyl Vincent, a Methodist minister.
- Chautauqua hosts more than 2,200 events and nearly 100,000 guests each year.
- Chautauqua Institution celebrates its 150th Anniversary in 2024.
Facts About Chautauqua Institution
- Chautauqua Institution is a National Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 30, 1989.
- Chautauqua has been visited by United States presidents from Ulysses S. Grant to Bill Clinton, and by other prominent Americans including Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, Yo Yo Ma, Bob Woodward, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ken Burns.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his “I Hate War” speech from the Amphitheater platform in 1936.
- Ronald Reagan addressed the Third General Chautauqua Conference on U.S.-Soviet Relations via satellite in 1987.
- Carlos Roberto Reina, president of Honduras, was the first foreign sitting head of state to visit Chautauqua. He spoke during the Second Chautauqua Conference on Central America in 1995.
- Thomas Edison was the son-in-law of Chautauqua co-founder Lewis Miller.
- George Gershwin completed his Concerto in F in a Chautauqua practice shack in 1925.
- Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle is one of the oldest continuous book clubs in the United States. It was founded in 1878.
- The 152-room Athenaeum Hotel was built in 1881. It was one of the first hotels to be lit by electricity.
- Chautauqua’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club is the oldest day camp in the United States.
- The Chautauqua Opera Company is the oldest continuously producing summer opera company in the United States. It was founded in 1929.
|Total visitors per summer||Nearly 100,000|
|Total visitors off-season||15,000|
|Institution-owned parking spaces||3,220|
227 on grounds
525 off grounds
Major Cultural Performing Arts Facilities
|Amphitheater||Performing Arts, Lectures, Worship Services, Rehearsals||4,400
(6,000 with standing room)
|Norton Hall||Opera, Recitals||1,365|
|Hall of Philosophy||Lectures, Services||745|
|Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall||Recitals, Rehearsals, Chamber Music||500|
|Smith Wilkes Hall||Lectures, Rehearsals, Performing Arts||450|
|Fletcher Music Hall||Recitals, Rehearsals||250|
|Hall of Christ||Lectures, Films||200|
|McKnight Hall||Recitals, Rehearsals||150|
Unique Storytelling Opportunities
One of the longest-running and most prestigious platforms for thought leadership in American history, Chautauqua each summer hosts dozens of distinguished and prominent speakers whose work and words shape our world, and demonstrate a commitment to civil dialogue.
Multi- and Intergenerational Experiences
From classroom and camp experiences to artistic performances to recreational activity, each summer offers an unmatched array of programs that invite every member of the family to be a fully engaged participant in the Chautauqua experience.
Recognizing the moral imperative of fostering deeper, more meaningful dialogue among people of different faith traditions, Chautauqua draws upon its historic convening power with perennial work that invites leaders and communities of all faiths and no faith into dialogue.
Arts Excellence & Education
In addition to its renowned summertime popular concert lineup and professional and pre-professional programs in the performing, visual and literary arts, Chautauqua’s arts-education engagement in regional schools has enriched the lives of thousands of local students, filling a void in the regional curriculum.
With some 750 acres of picturesque lake-adjacent property, Chautauqua demonstrates its commitment to responsible, scientifically sound stewardship of its greenspaces and physical infrastructure through model land-use regulations and watershed management initiatives.
From unique dining and group-travel experiences, Winter Village weekends and arts education to its newly established presence in Washington, D.C., Chautauqua’s growing portfolio of programs outside the traditional season are part of a commitment to being a year-round resource.
Today’s Chautauquans are the inheritors of a 150-year legacy of exploration into the best in human values and the enrichment of life — a program and community that has influenced or inspired many of the most important movements, institutions and figures in American public life.