“Art seems to me to be above all a state of soul.”~ Marc Chagall
Did you happen to see “Chautauque: An American Narrative” on PBS last night? I’ve been aware of this artist colony, located in Western New York, for quite sometime. However, the 60 minute documentary fulfilled my interest in wanting to know all kinds of things about this idyllic, lakeside town, their summer inhabitants and the programs offered by the Chautauque Institute that has existed since the late 1870’s.
The Chautauque Institute has had it’s struggles over the years, but since the 1980’s a new vision for strengthening it’s programs in science, art, religion and politics has rejuvenated and elevated their institution to new levels. What began as a literary retreat back in 1878 now includes teaching programs, lecture series and live performances of theatre, opera, ballet. Studio experiences abound for painters, sculpture, fiber arts and even more. People come to immerse themselves in the intellectually and culturally stimulating programs for a week or two, or for an entire season.
The institute’s popular morning lecture event attracts speakers such as Sandra Day O’Connor, David McCollough, Garrison Keiller and Daniel Pink. There are over 2,000 fulfilling programs in a 9 week period for those with a thirst for knowledge on the subjects of art, politics, spirituality and culture.
Lake Chautauqua provides a setting for recreating in any way you please. Every summer, the town swells from a few hundred full-time residents to a population of 150,000 people. There are families, 5 generations deep, that return annually to enjoy the facilities and the recreation opportunities in this beautiful town and at this culturally-rich institute. For more information on the documentary film about this fulfilling summer hub of recreation, enrichment and intellectual stimulation, please visit http://bit.ly/gh9rTu.
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