Arts serves as theme for Trustees Porch Discussion

With Carmina Burana premiering Saturday, the arts are taking center stage this week, including at Wednesday morning’s Chautauqua Board of Trustees Porch Discussion.

Deborah Sunya Moore, associate director of programming, spoke to the Chautauqua community about the fine and performing arts, the Institution’s inter-arts collaborations and the Institution’s community engagement through arts education.

Fine arts at Chautauqua Institution include the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera, the Charlotte Ballet in residence, Chautauqua Theater Company, and the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution; and pre-professional programs in each respective art form.

This season marks the Institution’s third year of an Inter-arts Collaboration Initiative that unites multiple art forms in one production. The culmination of this initiative will be the performance of Carmina Burana at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, and again Aug. 15, in the Amp.

“We have found these to be incredible productions — both in quality, in scope and breadth, and in reaction from Chautauquans,” Moore said.

Moore said the Institution has been starting to do more smaller-scale collaborations as well. Examples of these are CSO and CTC collaboration of Ellis Island during Week Three and “Meditations on Raising Boys” in Week Two.

“The inter-arts collaborations are not just about that one project, but about evolving the culture of the arts and programming,” she said.

The creative mission is another element of arts at Chautauqua that Moore emphasized. She said she realized the CSO did not have a mission statement, and instead of creating a separate mission statement for all the arts organizations, the Institution decided to create one mission for all the arts.

Two key aspects of that mission were a balance between tradition and innovation and also staying relevant and current, Sunya Moore said.

Emerging artists are one way Chautauqua is trying to find the balance between old and new. Entertainers like The Suffers, an up-and-coming band, join the popular entertainment series to give variety to the programming.

Part of the strategic plan Moore was particularly interested in was reaching beyond the gates and beyond the nine-week season for programming. Arts education is something to which she has devoted much of her effort over the past two years.

Before the season started, students from the community were bused in to the grounds to participate in events such tours of the art galleries and viewings of nine CTC-produced plays written by third graders. Chautauqua also has arts residencies in local school districts and a program for children with disabilities who cannot be in a typical classroom.

“These programs are happening during the school year, but you will see the effects of them on the grounds,” Moore said.

Chautauquan Jim Barnes asked how the board plans to sustain the arts financially at Chautauqua.

Trustee John Milos said fiscal responsibility and budgeting is something the board focused on heavily in their strategic plan for the Institution. Moore also said budgeting for programming is something she has also been very aware of as well.

Chautauquan Carol Rufener asked if the Institution keeps in touch with any of the festival students after their stay in Chautauqua. Moore said the Institution started its first alumni newsletter last year and hopes to provide alumni weekend and reunions for those students in the future.

“We hope that, someday, our students return and become Chautauquans just like you,” she said.

Trustees Porch Discussions occur at 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday on the Hultquist Center porch. Each discussion covers a different topic relevant to the Chautauqua community.