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It was founded in 1874 by inventor Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent as a teaching camp for Sunday-school teachers. The Institution has operated each summer since then, gradually expanding its season length and program offerings in the arts, education, religion and music. It offers educational activities to the public during the season, with public events including popular entertainment, theater, symphony, ballet, opera and visual arts exhibitions. The physical setting of the Institution defined its development as an assembly. The grounds are situated on the west shoreline of upper Chautauqua Lake. The early tent-camp assembly gave way to cottages and rooming houses, and then hotels, inns and eventually condominiums. Fort Myers, Florida, through the Valinda Society.

After completing courses, students were given Chautauqua diplomas. In 1973, the National Park Service added the Institution to the National Register of Historic Places. Summer admission to Chautauqua is by „gate ticket“ which allows entrance into the grounds, use of Smith Memorial Library, use of public beaches and parks, and attendance at lectures and concerts. Singer Capathia Jenkins and conductor Stuart Chafetz perform with the Orchestra on the fourth of July. Programs offered during the week at Chautauqua include devotional services and a lecture on a social, political, or academic issue in the morning, a religious or political topic in the afternoon, and a night of entertainment as the evening program. A broad range of special courses in music, art, dance, drama, and general topics are also offered. The Chautauqua Schools of Music offers extremely competitive programs on the basis of scholarship.

George Gershwin visited Chautauqua as a summer refuge to compose parts of his Concerto in F in a small, wooden piano studio. Sundays at Chautauqua feature worship services, both denominational and ecumenical. There is an afternoon Amphitheater program, such as a military band or student dance program. On Sundays, entrance to the Institution grounds is free. Worship services are coordinated by the permanent Department of Religion staff. There is an annual program held on the first Tuesday of each August called „Old First Night.

This is the „birthday party“ for the Institution, marking the anniversary of the opening of the first season in 1874. Another Chautauqua favorite is the 4th of July show at the Amphitheater specializing in patriotic-themed music followed by area fireworks viewed from the Chautauqua lake. 5 and was a pioneering program in the field of nursery-school education. The program consists of social, recreational and educational activities which often incorporate other Chautauqua programs in the areas of music, drama, art, and recreation. The Chautauqua Boys and Girls Club is one of the oldest day camps in the United States, founded in 1893.

While parents are engaging in various activities around the grounds, their children meet in a special area by the lake and participate in sports, art, and recreational games, such as volleyball, sailing, swimming, field games, and pottery. The Institution’s grounds, located between New York State Route 394 and Chautauqua Lake, include public buildings, administrative offices, a library, movie theater, bookstore, hotel, condominiums, inns, rooming houses, and many private cottages available for rent during the season. There are about 400 year-round residents, but the population can increase up to 7,500 guests per day during the summer season. The 6000-seat Amphitheater was demolished in September 2016 to make way for a new theater-style structure, paying homage to the old structure. The new amphitheater will have modern facilities and improved accessibility.

This project caused some controversy due to the designation of the site as a National Historic Landmark. The Athenaeum Hotel located on the grounds is the only hotel actually owned and operated by the Institution. The 156-room hotel, said to be the largest wooden building in the eastern United States, was built in the Second Empire style in 1881. Palestine Park is a walk-around, landscaped, geographically scaled map of Palestine showing the general contour of the area, including mountains, valleys, bodies of water and the cities that existed in the correct geographical locations during the New Testament of the Bible Throughout the week, multiple tours are offered to discuss the historical and religious significance of this world-famous area. The Chautauqua Prize is an annual American literary award established by the Chautauqua Institution in 2012. 7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua. The Chautauqua Declaration is an annual declaration made at the Chautauqua Institution following a meeting of current and former international chief prosecutors of international criminal tribunals and special courts.

The Chautauqua movement spread throughout the United States and was highly popular until the start of World War II. By the mid-1920s, when circuit Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in over 10,000 communities to audiences of more than 45 million. By about 1940, they had mostly run their course. The ideals of the Chautauqua Institution were spread throughout the United States through a number of Independent Chautauqua assemblies. 1878 by Bishop Vincent, is one of America’s oldest continuously operating book clubs. It was founded to promote self-learning and study, particularly among those unable to attend higher institutions of learning.

The Chautauqua Institution has been frequently visited by political figures, celebrities, artists, musicians, scientists, and many others. Since its founding in 1874, the Institution has been visited by four sitting United States presidents including Ulysses S. National Register Register listings for Chautauqua County. Niagara Falls and Western New York Sights: The Chautauqua Institutaion“. In The Shadow of Death: A Chautauqua Murder Mystery. East Winds Symphonic Band Closes Season with All-American Performance“. George Gershwin: His Life And Work.

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