School of Art Students
The Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (VACI) includes the Chautauqua School of Art, the galleries of the Strohl Art Center, the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, the Melvin Johnson Sculpture Garden and the visual arts lecture series. Our galleries present contemporary as well as historically based exhibitions. VACI encourages engagement with an expansive range of critical issues in the visual arts, and attracts distinguished exhibitors and renowned guest artists and faculty. Our students come from top art schools and smaller programs internationally. A nationally respected forum for engaging with a broad range of content at the highest levels possible, VACI offers an unparalleled experience with artists and their work.
History of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution
School of Art Faculty Member William Daley with students - 1988 Chautauqua Art Student - 1983
The visual arts programs at Chautauqua Institution have been the launching point for thousands of artists for more than a century, and for over 50 years our galleries have been one of Chautauqua’s primary links to the world of contemporary as well as historical art.
One of the oldest summer visual art programs in America, courses in art were offered at Chautauqua as early as the 1880’s, but it was with the construction of the Arts and Crafts Quadrangle in 1909 that a fully active school for visual arts was established. It was designed and built by the team of New York artist Henry Turner Bailey (first Director of Chautauqua's visual arts program) and renowned architect E.B. Green. A century later this facility, one of the finest examples of American Arts and Crafts architecture in the country, continues to be flawless in its design as an art school, even though the building was conceived before most of the major art movements in 20th and 21st Century Art had been conceived. It has lived through Cubism, Expressionism, Abstraction, Pop, Post-Modernism, time based media and all that followed, and it continues, through the foresight of its original designers, to create an ambiance which facilitates a natural exchange of ideas among students and faculty, many of whom are working in media that hadn't even been invented when the building was originally constructed. The layout of the quadrangle, with it's U shaped structure overlooking a green expanse leading to one of the best views of Chautauqua Lake in the region, has served it's pedagogical purpose well for more than 100 years.
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