Chautauqua Institution administrators led the second Strategic Plan Information and IDEA Listening Session and the first Master Plan Information Session last week, engaging community members with 150 Forward and potential physical upgrades to the grounds.
The master plan is a sampling of options to optimize space and opportunities for development in underused areas of the Institution. Despite the name, the master plan is not concrete: “This is a menu of ideas,” President Michael E. Hill said Wednesday.
Areas of opportunity for development include: North Campus around Turner Community Center and the School of Music; the parking lots on West Campus; and the “interfaith area” around Massey Avenue.
Potential updates would increase housing and parking, and make New York State Route 394 more pedestrian-friendly by building mixed-use retail space, sidewalks and bike lanes. The next master plan meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 19, in the Hall of Christ.
The master plan is an arm of 150 Forward. The strategic plan is a series of objectives — optimize the summer season, expand Chautauqua’s convening authority year-round, drive a science-based approach to the lake’s sustainaility and diversify revenue — and cross-cutting imperatives — strategic partnerships; mobilization of technology; labor and talent solutions; and inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility — synthesized by a 13-member strategic planning working group, which pinpointed the Institution’s strengths and challenges.
The overarching goal of the plan is to “convene diverse perspectives and voices to discover and advance the most important, relevant conversations and experiences … during the summer assembly season and year-round, on the grounds and beyond,” according to Laura Currie, chair of the strategic planning working group.
To achieve this, the Institution has several goals. It will expand philanthropic efforts into strategic partnerships with larger organizations, reimagine arts programming, increase brand awareness, invest greatly in technology, enhance the customer experience, work toward science-based solutions to the declining health of Chautauqua Lake, and diversify.
“(Diversity) is so much a part of who we need to be in our DNA, that it cuts across all the goals of the strategic plan; this underrides all of that,” Chief of Staff and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Shannon Rozner said at last Monday’s IDEA Listening Session. “We hope that gives a sense of the importance of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.”
At the IDEA Listening Session, a Chautuaquan questioned the need to diversify. Rozner responded by highlighting how important diversity is to the Institution’s mission.
“Our mission calls us to explore the best in human values; if we don’t have a representation of all of humanity here, that’s not (possible) to do,” she said.
The next IDEA Listening Session is at 3:30 p.m. Monday, July 8 in the Hall of Christ; the Strategic Plan Information Session will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Hall of Christ. Additionally, Chautauquans can voice concerns, leave comments or ask questions about the strategic plan through the online forum at 150FWDFeedback.chq.org.