About Us / Our Mission
The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, where approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during a nine-week season, and a total of over 100,000 attend scheduled public events.
Chautauqua is dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times; stimulates provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues; and promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts.
The Chautauqua experience is based around one’s engagement in four program areas:
Chautauqua as a community celebrates, encourages and studies the arts and treats them as integral to all of learning. With symphony, opera, theater, dance, visual arts and a renowned music school, Chautauqua produces an "ecstatic mix" of programming that can be found nowhere else.
Self-improvement through lifelong learning was at the heart of the impulse that motivated Americans and founded Chautauqua in 1874. That tradition continues today with a morning and afternoon lecture platform, continued education courses, the Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle book club, writers in residence, and a public library.
At Chautauqua, religious faith is perceived, interpreted and experienced as central to the understanding and expression of our social and cultural values. Chautauqua is a community that is open to all with a wide variety of services of worship and programs that express the Institution’s Christian heritage and its interfaith commitment.
From adult to youth programs, Chautauqua has embraced the recreative experience and a healthy lifestyle as essential to the Chautauqua experience. Recreational opportunities include sailing, boating, fishing and swimming on Chautauqua Lake as well as a 36-hole golf course, fast-dry and hard-surface tennis courts, playing fields, playgrounds and fitness centers.
The Chautauqua Challenge
The Chautauqua Challenge defines the mission of the Chautauqua Institution. It was adopted by the Board of Trustees in 1974 and was revised in 2000.
To be a center ...
for the identification and development of the best in human values through a program which
- Encourages the identification and exploration of the value dimensions in the important religious, social and political issues of our times
- Stimulates the provocative, thoughtful involvement of individuals and families in creative response to such issues on a high level of competence and commitment
- Promotes excellence and creativity in the appreciation, performance and teaching of the arts.
To be a community ...
in which religious faith is perceived, interpreted and experienced as central to the understanding and expression of our social and cultural values, a community which is open to all and is distinctly founded upon and expressive of the convictions of the Christian tradition.
To be a resource ...
for the enriched understanding of the opportunities and obligations of community, family and personal life by fostering the sharing of varied cultural, educational, religious and recreational experience in an atmosphere of participation by persons of all ages and backgrounds.