Schools of Performing and Visual Arts Student Handbook
Artists from around the world come to Chautauqua each summer for a unique learning experience. Part of that experience is becoming part of the CHQ community. School Performing and Visual Arts students and emerging professionals live in our dorms side-by-side with others studying music, art, voice and dance – all forming relationships that last a lifetime.
Prior to Arrival
Your health profile on CampDoc and all required documentation must be completed and uploaded prior to your arrival on the grounds.
How to Get to Chautauqua
We are happy to assist you in making your plans, but Chautauqua Institution does not provide transportation to and from Chautauqua. The two closest transportation hubs are Buffalo, NY and Erie, PA.
Coming to Chautauqua Institution by Train:
The closest train stations to Chautauqua are either the Buffalo/Depew station or the Buffalo/Exchange station. The Buffalo/Exchange station is within walking distance of the Greyhound bus station. From Buffalo you will need to take a limo, taxi or bus. The Amtrak also goes into Erie, Pennsylvania, but from this point you will have to take a limo or taxi.
Coming to Chautauqua Institution by Bus:Coach USA runs five buses per day to Jamestown, New York out of the Greyhound Terminal Metro Transportation Center (800-231-2222) in downtown Buffalo, New York (181 Ellicott Street). This location is walkable from the Buffalo/Exchange street Amtrak station. One-way cost is $9.50. Roundtrip cost is $19. Trip is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Cash only. There is no bus service out of Erie, Pennsylvania.
Click here for more information about how to get to Chautauqua.
What to Bring
You will need to bring at least two blankets, two twin sheets, two pillowcases, towels and washcloths. (Pillows are provided for you, but you may want to bring your own.) Other items to consider include mattress pads, lamp, throw rugs and comforter. Linens are not provided — please pack accordingly!
Because we are located on a lake, the evenings can be cool; an extra blanket and warm clothing are musts. (Daytime temps during the summer typically range from 70–90 degrees Fahrenheit. Night temps are 50–70 degrees.)
Dorm rooms do not have air conditioning. You may bring an AC unit if you have a medical reason.
A fan is recommended to make you more comfortable on hot days and/or nights. We do have several fans available to loan out if needed on a first come, first-served basis.
Please bring a thermometer for daily self-monitoring.
Most rooms in Bellinger Hall and Lincoln Dorm are doubles; some rooms are triples and quads. Each room contains two standard-size twin beds, two desks, two wardrobes/closets and is connected to another room by a bathroom with two sinks, toilet and a shower. There are four coin-operated washers and dryers in the basement of Bellinger Hall north wing. There is a change machine available as well. Small fridges are allowed in the dorm rooms, but keep them small, as space is limited! No microwaves allowed. Please be aware that we do not have cable hookup in the rooms.
The program deposit is a placeholder for a student’s room and is refundable in full if space is no longer available when the deposit is received. Part or all the deposit is returned to the student in September, following a final inspection for any or all damages incurred in the dorm room, regardless of responsible party, as well as area of study (i.e., music not returned, books not returned to the School of Art, etc.)
Chautauqua provides residence hall lodging for approximately 280 full-time students enrolled in the art, music, dance and theater schools. The residence halls are located within walking distance to all the festival facilities. Each room comes with a twin bed, desk and closet for each student or emerging artist and the bathroom is shared with one other room. Full-time dorm RAs are hired specifically for each wing. Students are housed based on their age and discipline.
Chautauqua offers two housing facilities, Bellinger Hall and Lincoln Dorm. If you prefer to not stay in the Bellinger Hall or Lincoln Dorm, we are happy to provide you with guidance for housing in the area, however, we cannot guarantee housing other than these options.
Residence Hall supervision is provided by RAs who live in the residence halls and who have authority to enforce Institution policies and regulations. Counselors will issue keys upon check-in. Bellinger Hall keys are swipe cards, Lincoln Dorm keys are actual keys. Students enjoy a high degree of personal freedom and responsibility because Chautauqua is a self-contained village. The 230-acre grounds are entered through monitored gates. Chautauqua maintains 24-hour security, which enforces Institution rules, as well as local, state and federal laws.
All students who live in the residence halls will automatically be enrolled in our full meal plan. This plan includes breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week cafeteria-style in Bellinger Hall. There is no option to opt-out of the meal plan. Please be aware that we cannot cater to unique or individual dietary requests, however, we will try to accommodate everyone as best as we can.
All students receive a Traditional Gate Pass for the duration of the program which includes access to the Institution grounds and admission to most of our programming. Up to two “Popular Entertainment” events weekly will require purchase of an additional ticket. For more information about additional purchases, please contact the Ticket Office by calling (716) 357-6250 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail & Packages
Your mailing address will be:
PO Box 992
Chautauqua, NY 14722
Students pick up their mail in mailboxes located in the foyer of Bellinger Hall North (716-357-6203).
When sending UPS or Federal Express, do not use the PO Box number. Use the following street address:
Bellinger Hall North
77 Hedding Avenue
Chautauqua, NY 14722
The receptionist in the Main Office of Bellinger Hall will place a note in the student’s mailbox indicating receipt of a UPS or FedEx package. PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to send luggage or supplies before you arrive, it may be sent via UPS or Parcel Post to the Bellinger address. Upon arrival, they should be picked up in Bellinger Hall North. We will keep items locked up in the mail room until the students arrive. Please don’t send anything to Bellinger Hall before June 13.
ATMs (M&T Bank) are in the Colonnade building lobby, and at the Main Gate Welcome Center, Brick Walk Cafe and at the Athenaeum Hotel. Money orders are available at the Chautauqua Post Office on Bestor Plaza. The nearest full-service banks, an M&T branch and a Jamestown Savings Bank, are in Mayville, approximately 4 miles north of the Institution grounds.
Parking & Transportation
Chautauqua is a self-contained, walking community with shopping, a bookstore, mail and other services conveniently located within the grounds. Besides hosting the Schools of Performing and Visual Arts, Chautauqua Institution is a resort, designed as a center for a learning vacation. The use of automobiles within the grounds is tightly restricted because of the narrow streets and concern that the noise of traffic would disrupt activities held in outdoor facilities.
Bicycles are a popular form of transportation; bring a bicycle and lock. Bicycles may be rented (though expensive for long-term rentals) from Jamestown Cycle Shop’s Chautauqua location (716-357-9032).
Parking is available in protected lots adjacent to the grounds. There is a courtesy bus service within the Chautauqua grounds. If you are planning to keep a vehicle here during the summer, we advise you to purchase your parking permit in advance by filling out the parking permit form on CampDoc and following the payment instructions. Doing this in advance will save you a lot of time — we can’t stress this enough! Your permit will be provided to you at registration if you order in advance. Parking permits may also be obtained upon arrival at the Main Gate Ticket Office.
Parking tickets will be issued to those who do not park in their designated spot. If the problem persists, the vehicle will be towed and/or confiscated at the owner’s expense. 2022 Parking Permit Rate: $85
In addition to the registered nurse who keeps office hours in Bellinger Hall during the summer, Chautauqua offers the on-grounds Westfield Memorial Hospital Chautauqua Health Care Clinic, which offers basic medical care for children and adults like that provided in a doctor’s office. The center offers treatments for minor medical emergencies and provides wellness services such as health checkups, allergy shots, prescriptions, etc., plus free blood pressure screening. For all emergencies or medical issues that require more Comprehensive attention, Chautauqua Institution is located about 10 miles from Westfield Memorial Hospital (716-326-4921), about 15 miles from UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital in Jamestown (716-487-0141) and about 35 miles from St. Vincent (814-452-5000) and Hamot Medical Center (814-877-6000), both located in Erie, Pennsylvania. All costs incurred by a medical visit to either the clinic or to a hospital will be at the expense of the student. The main office in Bellinger Hall will be happy to assist any student in making an appointment to the clinic or if a student needs a ride to a nearby hospital.
Fitness Center Membership
Your tuition (Art, Music, Dance Pre-Pro students only) includes a membership to the Turner Fitness Center for the duration of your program. Please call the fitness center front desk for more information on the amenities included with your membership: 716-357-6430
Learn more about Chautauqua Health & Fitness here.
Learn more about college credit here.
Suggested Packing List
Sheets (standard twin)
Bicycle and lock
Laptop or Tablet
Movies and games
Quarters for laundry
Power strips (surge protected)
Clothes (for warm and cold weather)
Sneakers (for walking!)
Thermometer (for self-screening) Music stand (SOM students)