Welcome to the beginning of Week Seven at Chautauqua.
We spend time every season talking about the creation of art. Writers discuss their craft and the role of the muse; the compelling line created by character in context.
The experience of Chautauqua Institution is an experience of community. The grounds and facilities, our rules for land use and the attempts to minimize the use of cars, the efforts toward an understanding of shared space, and the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of practices are all pieces of the reality of the experience of community.
Almost two years ago, we began our discussions with Colonial Williamsburg about an ongoing series on the subject of emerging democracies. We felt that our two organizations could combine our resources to build a long-term public dialogue about the challenges to the emergence of democratic societies in our time.
Welcome to the opening weekend of the 2014 Chautauqua season.
Somewhere in the jumble of my mind — a condition that often visits me when we are entering the fourth week of the season — I recall a statement to the effect, “The eye can only see what the mind comprehends.”
On Saturday evening the Chautauqua Opera Company will perform Benjamin Britten’s psychologically potent social parable of the struggle of the individual against the masses.
Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker addressed the crowd gathered around the Hultquist Center porch last Wednesday morning as the season’s first weekly Trustee Porch Discussion began.
Becker detailed aspects of the Institution’s current stragetic plan that have allowed the board of trustees and the administration to look at Chautauqua’s immediate and long-term future with greater certainty.
“It is far more based on data than anything we have ever done before,” Becker said.
Week Two of the 2013 Season contains our celebration of the Fourth of July. The national holiday is a magnet for family gatherings throughout the country, and it is no less true at Chautauqua. There will be a fleet of bikes in front of Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Children’s School will be full. Special Studies classes for young people will be fully subscribed. Bestor Plaza will reflect the family orientation of the week during the Community Band concert. There will be boats on the lake, intergenerational foursomes on the golf course, a level of healthy vigor in the fitness center and a noticeably more age-diverse audience in the Amphitheater for the week’s lecture program.
The opening lecture of the week will be delivered by Megan Smith, daughter of year-round resident Joan Smith and vice president of Google[x], the technology company’s advanced products team. Megan spent her summers growing up at Chautauqua.
Megan and her partner, Kara, who works on Wall Street Journal digital technology components and is an editor of the blog AllThingsD, are raising their two children Louie and Alex in California.
It was 95 degrees the day the newly renovated Alumni Hall was dedicated in 2007. Rows of chairs were set up in the blazing sun, but the crowd stood in the shade.
The history of the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, now celebrating its 25th season, has always seemed to consist of a determined few fighting to support literary arts on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution.
This Sunday, following a 3:30 p.m. reading on the Alumni Hall porch, the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends invites the public to join in a reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Writers’ Center. The reading will feature poet Phil Terman and prose writer Kristin Kovacic, while the reception will include an introduction by Institution President Tom Becker.