It may be the end of another season for Chautauqua, but for the Institution’s senior administrative staff, it’s just the beginning of nine months spent brainstorming, planning and programming for summer 2015.
A group of about 60 rain-chilled people huddled, packed like sardines, onto wooden benches in the damp corners of Hultquist Center porch Wednesday morning for the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees porch discussion.
A swell of Chautauquans flooded Hultquist Center porch Wednesday morning, overflowing onto the steps and surrounding area to listen to the Trustees Porch Discussion, “Fine & Performing Arts & Inter-arts Collaboration.”
A group of roughly 25 parents, grandparents and friends of youth gathered Wednesday morning to engage in conversation with Institution leaders concerning children’s experiences in Chautauqua.
Keeping Chautauqua Institution affordable for visitors while maintaining its facilities and programming is a financial challenge.
Tim Renjilian, a member of the Institution’s board of trustees, and Sebastian Baggiano, Institution treasurer and vice president for finance and community services, discussed bringing more people to the grounds, maintaining affordable prices and philanthropy to improve the sustainability of the Institution during Wednesday’s Trustee Porch Discussion on the Hultquist Center porch.
The board’s challenge is to preserve the Institution’s environment in terms of programming, facilities and affordability, Renjilian said. To ensure that, the board must look at revenues, expenses and capital.
At Wednesday’s weekly Trustees Porch Discussion on the Hultquist Center porch, the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, director of the Department of Religion, spoke with Chautauquans about “Chautauqua as an Interfaith Community.”
When Campbell arrived at Chautauqua about 12 years ago, the Institution had just begun to “put its toe in the water” of becoming an Abrahamic community, with outreach to the Jewish community.
That was not difficult, she said, because there were already many Jews living on the grounds.
“I think one of the great traits of Chautauqua as an interfaith community is that we are a lived-in community, not just a dinner party that people have to introduce each other to people of other faiths,” she said. “People live here and live together. I think it’s a much deeper and profound way in which to begin an interfaith knowledge of one another.”
Sherra Babcock, director of the Department of Education and Youth Services, wants to give kids something to go home and talk about.
Chautauqua Institution should provide the young community on the grounds with opportunities that will challenge them, she said, but also the opportunities that make them want to visit.
“One objective that we have had is to offer some things — when it makes sense — that will allow kids at whatever age to go home to the dinner table and have something to say about the theme of the week,” Babcock said.
Babcock discussed the importance of creating family memories at Thursday morning’s Trustees Porch Discussion.
Chautauqua offers many activities for youth and adults, but a certain age group is still looking for a place to connect.
These topics were at the center of the second weekly Trustees’ Porch Discussion on Wednesday. Sherra Babcock, director of Chautauqua’s Department of Education, and Jack Voelker, director of recreation and youth services, led the discussion, titled “Creating Family Experiences.”