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Chautauqua Institution Hosts Art Gallery Tours

Mimi Gallow presenting to Ashley Zambotty’s fifth grade Brocton Elementary class at Chautauqua Institution this week. Dozens of local students were given art gallery tours, hosted by the Institution’s Performing and Visual Arts Center. Photo by Cooper Miller

CHAUTAUQUA — The Chautauqua Institution hosted many local elementary school students this week, ranging from fourth to fifth grade from various districts across Chautauqua County in order to lead art gallery tours.

The tours are being hosted by the Institution’s Performing and Visual Arts Center with the objective of allowing young students to engage in the Institution’s variety of artistic offerings. This is part of a series of tours hosted by the Performing and Visual Arts Center, which include events on Friday, from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, June 20, from 10-11 a.m.

“It’s a wonderful outreach to the community for some of these children who have never been in a museum or an art gallery, I think it’s great for them to come and experience something like this,” said Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of VACI (Visual Arts of Chautauqua Institution) Galleries on the grounds.

Mimi Gallows, a volunteer of Vaci Partners, added, “We don’t have an art museum close by, so this is the closest thing they could get to see to an art gallery, so it really exposes them to a new and different kind of experience.”

The institution sets up these tours over the span of two weeks for students during the school year so they may experience what it is like to visit an actual art gallery. During the upcoming weeks before the Chautauqua Institution season begins, students and teachers will be able to participate in docent-led tours of VACI galleries, which end in hands-on, summative projects that are related to the gallery’s exhibits.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity because most of these kids have not or will not ever visit an art gallery in their lifetime,” said Ken Purcell, Brocton Elementary School fifth grade teacher. “We feel that the tours will be a well-rounding experience for the students.”

The Institution has always prided itself on being a year-round arts-education resource for Chautauqua County youth and these tours help to illustrate that. “This is the first time we were aware of these tours, so it’s really a great thing for us to now be apart of,” Purcell said.

The tours will take place at two different Chautauqua Institution exhibits, the Fowler-Kellogg and Strohl Art Centers, which are located on Wythe Avenue. The exhibits present sculptures and installations by several contemporary artists on a rotating basis throughout the entire summer season. In addition to the pre-season tours, the Fowler-Kellogg and Strohl Art Centers will be hosting 10 shows during the nine week season, which will range from member to museum quality shows.

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