All year long, Chautauqua Institution provides arts education to students in the surrounding area through programs like the Young Playwrights Project, Chautauqua Opera Invasion’s The Bremen Town Musicians and art gallery field trips. Support from various organizations such as the Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education make these programs possible.
“What is so nice for Chautauqua specifically is that for years and years, it’s been this summer program,” said Harriet Goldin, founder of the Goldin Foundation. “Which has been fantastic, but at this point in time, it is doing more to share the wealth of all that it is doing.”
The Institution began offering year-round arts education in 2014, serving 511 children from two schools. In 2018, the program now serves more than 7,000 students in 14 schools in Chautauqua County.
“It’s incredible,” Goldin said. “But it isn’t the numbers as much as the quality of the programming (that’s incredible).”
In 2018, the Goldin Foundation awarded the Institution the Exemplary Projects Award not only because of the quality programming it offers students of various ages year-round, but also because it serves as a resource for teachers and families in Chautauqua County and neighboring communities.
Before a program can be named an exemplary project by the Goldin Foundation, it must meet a number of criteria. Among these are that the program must have been in effect for at least three years, cultivate a community of teachers and learners, and provide creative approaches in classrooms, schools and communities.
Although Goldin herself has been visiting the Institution for 20 years, she never knew about the arts education program until last year.
“I think (the arts education program) is one of the ‘unsung heroes’ that needs a lot more exposure for the whole community to learn about it,” Goldin said.
Goldin thinks it is important to “recognize and validate” programs all over the world that are benefiting their communities with awards like the Exemplary Projects Award. An educator by trade since 1962, she founded the Goldin Foundation in 1989 with the intention of recognizing the “unsung heroes” who are committed to the development of young people.
“Wonderful things are happening in their schools,” Goldin said. “We tend to focus on the things that are not so great, but in fact, there’s a lot of innovation, creativity, wonderful ideas and actions that are being implemented (in the schools).”
At Chautauqua specifically, Goldin wants the arts education program to continue to grow and have a positive impact in the surrounding areas. Like all the programs she has given Exemplary Projects Awards to, she believes the Chautauqua arts education initiatives are committed to the education of children, bettering of society as a whole and creating innovative thinkers.
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