Dennis Galucki sums up the idea of Buffalo Day at Chautauqua in 10 words: “To explore American legacy through place-based, lifelong learning and imagination.”
Ten words, and now, 10 years. Buffalo Day at Chautauqua is spending its 10th summer on the grounds with a lineup of lectures and presentations throughout the day and across the grounds on Tuesday, June 2.
Buffalo Day at Chautauqua, Galucki said, started with a Special Studies course he taught in 2006 and 2007: “Imagine Buffalo in the 21st Century: The Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea.” The idea, he said, “flowed from that thought.”
All of the events scheduled on the grounds today are tied to the theme of “Imagine Communities Working Toward the Common Good: Imagine Greater Buffalo.”
Galucki opens the day with a brief presentation at 12:15 p.m. in the Hall of Philosophy, on “The Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea.” Galucki’s presentation serves as an introduction to a 12:30 p.m. panel discussion: “Education, Environment, Racial Equity, Arts & Culture.” The panel, led by Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, includes Rabbi Jonathan Freirich, the Rev. Jonathan Staples, and David Rust.
“The panel came together through the work being done in Buffalo, where the city is dealing with many of the same issues that Chautauqua is dealing with, whether they’re diversity, whether they’re equity,” Galucki said. “And the lead on that, as far as I can see, is the Community Foundation. They’re a natural fit.”
Following the panel, at 2 p.m. in Smith Memorial Library, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Executive Director John Jablonski will join Betsy Constantine, executive vice president of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, in a discussion on “Buffalo & American Legacy.”
Buffalo Day concludes at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Christ, when Stanton Hudson, executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, and Peter Schiffmacher, the founder of iTours 369VR and co-founder of Reality Capture Experts, deliver the latest program of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series.
“That works at two levels,” Galucki said. “One is the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s being inaugurated in Buffalo. That’s really the beginning of the Progressive Era. … The other dimension is the virtual reality.”
Schiffmacher and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site have worked with a grant from New York State that will allow students in fourth and eighth grades to use virtual reality in their classrooms to experience the site — without ever having to set foot there.
Galucki said that, throughout the years, Buffalo Day at Chautauqua has showcased how the work being done on the grounds can exist in cities across the country.
“What if you could take the spirit and idealism of Chautauqua and plunk it into a city all year long?” he said.