People come to Chautauqua Institution from different backgrounds, from all over the world, but their reasons for coming are usually the same: They want to learn and enrich themselves.
After four jam-packed weeks of morning worship, afternoon lectures, meditation classes, cooking lessons and attending shows, the Chautauqua Scholars are wrapping up their time on the grounds.
Barbi Price, a docent at Chautauqua Institution’s art galleries, has a trunkful of bottles and cans. Sometimes, bags of bottles sit waiting for Price in her driveway when she gets home at night. The bags often come with little notes, saying things like “Here’s a few to help out.”
This year, 208 students at Chautauqua Institution have received 248 generous scholarship gifts from Chautauquans who are committed to seeing artists of diverse backgrounds thrive on the grounds. In total, the scholarships awarded by the Chautauqua Foundation provide $352,381 to students who would not otherwise be able to pursue an artistic education at the Institution.
Joseph Mghames had never been to the United States before from his home country of Lebanon, and he had only one thing on which to base his expectations: movies. And to the self-proclaimed movie addict’s surprise, some of the words, jokes and cultural idiosyncrasies he came across when he arrived in the U.S. carried the warm glow of familiarity.
For many artists, studying at the Chautauqua School of Art is a unique and incredible opportunity to create a body of work, to connect with other students and teachers, to hone in on their true artistic form or to experiment with a new direction. And for many students, generous gifts and endowed scholarships make an otherwise out-of-reach experience possible.
For Erika McIlnay, a graduate student in sculpture at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, coming to Chautauqua gives her the time to try incorporating new media into her work.
“I found that here, I’ve had time to think about where my work is going, and I’ve shifted quite a bit since,” she said. “Having the time to actually think and work has been great — and the opportunity to be in this environment.”