As a former member of the United States Foreign Service, the former owner of an antique business, the current owner of Hopper Historics, and president of the Manuscript Society, Bob Hopper may be a jack-of-all-trades, but he wouldn’t exchange anything for his summers at Chautauqua Institution.
Early last Wednesday in the Athenaeum Hotel parlor, the Chautauqua Foundation hosted a breakfast discussion to explore and celebrate the role of women as writers and performers inside the Chautauqua Theater Company as well as in their other professional theater engagements.
The Chautauqua Foundation, in partnership with the Athenaeum Hotel, presented a Farm-to-Table benefit dinner for the Chautauqua Fund in the hotel’s parlor this past Sunday.
As Week Two of the 2014 Chautauqua summer season begins, the diversity and intensity of activity on the grounds deepens. Some major artistic and cultural programs launch their seasons, greeted by anticipation. At the same time, many of the hundreds of high school and college students who are here for the summer have been on the job for weeks already, helping to organize and deliver services that support the Institution’s ambitious seasonal plans. Here are the stories of six of our young seasonal employees.
As one enters the Athenaeum’s main dining room, he or she may first notice that the old wallpaper is gone. The tables look less crowded. Drapes have been upgraded, and works by local artists adorn the walls. An updated menu ensures that a venue long steeped in tradition feels new. Heirloom Restaurant is making its debut.
The advent of another summer season always heralds the arrival of hundreds of young people coming to work at Chautauqua Institution. Most are on summer vacation from college or high school. Many come from Chautauqua County and western New York, drawn by a familiarity with the Institution or its proximity to family homes. A few come from faraway places to make their contribution to a smooth-running summer season on the grounds.
Go to breakfast with Margaret Atwood, and forget she is a novelist. Imagine her to be a scholar of 19th-century English literature, or medieval art, or the emergence of print culture. Imagine her as an environmentalist, a women’s rights activist, a Twitter maven, a world traveler.
They play vital roles in keeping Chautauqua Institution running. [SLIDESHOW]
On Canada Day, as sunset approached with the promise of a cool, comfortable evening, three Canadians enjoyed their balcony setting. Roly Browning Watt, 68, is a Toronto trust and estate attorney, as well as a noted philanthropist. He has been visiting Chautauqua Institution for his entire life. Peter Boeckle, 72, is a Toronto trial lawyer. He and his wife, Mary, have been visiting the Institution on and off for 40 years, mostly with Watt, who introduced them to the Institution in the 1960s and began our conversation.
Food has been the topic of countless books and writing workshops — Kevin Young’s upcoming Week Three Writers’ Center workshop, for example — but food inspired by writing is more unusual.