Chautauqua Institution

The Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (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 galleries present contemporary as well as historically based exhibitions.



School of Art Students

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 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.

School of Art →


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.

>>Show More


Advisory Council to the Artistic Director


VACI Partners

VACI Partners is a membership-driven organization committed to the creative vitality of the visual arts at Chautauqua Institution. Each summer we host an array of stimulating events to raise funds to pay for scholarships for deserving students.
Learn more about membership and events.



News and Publications

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, by Advisory Council and faculty member Sharon Louden

Dannielle Tegeder in Conversation with Barry Schwabsky, with faculty member Dannielle Tegeder

Reinhardt Melted the Ice, in The Brooklyn Rail, by VACI Artistic Director and faculty member Don Kimes

Email me
2015 Season Information


VACI Leadership

Artistic Director
Don Kimes

Managing Director
Lois Jubeck

Galleries Director
Judy Barie

School of Art: 716.357.6301
Galleries: 716.357.6460
Gallery Store: 716.357.2771
Off-season: 716.357.6217
Fax: 716.357.9014

Coordinator of Student Services
Sarah Malinoski-Umberger
Fax: 716.357.9014


School of Art
8:30 a.m. - noon
and 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Galleries and Gallery Store
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.


1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Chautauqua Institution
P.O. Box 1098
Chautauqua, NY 14722

Madness of Art episode

For a humorous look at art school, check out Chelsea Gallery Dealer Jim Kempner's Madness of Art episode, when Jim tries to go to art school.

The Madness of Art, Season 4, Episode 1: Jim Goes to Chautauqua