Friends of CVA

Supporting the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution

Friends of CVA (formerly VACI Partners) is an all-volunteer membership organization with a mission to promote awareness, education, appreciation and excellence in the visual arts at Chautauqua Institution. Friends of CVA initiatives support the Strohl and Fowler-Kellogg Art Centers, the Melvin Johnson Sculpture Garden, and the Chautauqua School of Art. Friends of CVA encourages an appreciation for all forms of art making, by both professionals and amateurs.

Friends of CVA is managed by a Board of Directors who works closely with the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts and the Director of Galleries. Our 2024 Board Members are: Mandy Berg, Bob Jeffrey, Ton McCray-Worrall, Ellie Nickeson, Richard Parlato, Av Posner, Belinda Rogers, and Lydia Strohl.

Over the course of the summer season, Friends of CVA hosts events for its members and for the general public. These have traditionally included art fairs, lectures, exhibition openings, and fundraising activities. Please join us and take advantage of all that Chautauqua has to offer in the area of visual arts.


CVA Memberships are a vital funding source and make our programs possible. We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about our programs to become members of CVA. We offer various levels of membership.

Become a Member
  • General Membership $40

    The benefits of a Basic membership are:

    -Private tour of Members Exhibition

    -Weekly newsletter during the season / bi-weekly off season

    -10% discount in The Gallery Store year ‘round

    *Couples or Family Rate $65

  • Exhibiting Membership $80

    Benefits of the General Membership and:

    -Opportunity to show 1-2 pieces in the Open Members Exhibition

    -Attending and/or participating in a group critique session for Exhibiting Members only during the summer season at the School of Art

  • Director’s Level Membership $500-$5,000

    Sponsor a School of Art Residency Participant

    Sponsorship of a Resident will include the benefits of all Membership Levels, with any amount over $500 going directly to resident scholarships.

    Suggested Sponsorship Levels:  $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500

    -A private dinner will be hosted in Strohl Art Center (or the Art Quad) for sponsors to meet the 2022 SOA artist that they have sponsored with a scholarship

  • Sustaining Membership

    If you are a previous life member at the Sustainer level please note that on your membership form. New Sustainer level memberships are no longer offered.

Friends of CVA Mission

The Friends of the Chautauqua Visual Arts (FCVA) enthusiastically support and promote awareness, education, appreciation and excellence in the Chautauqua Visual Arts (CVA) at Chautauqua Institution (CI) on local, national and international levels. Furthermore, FCVA is committed to providing scholarships to outstanding art students who come to study at the Chautauqua School of Art.

Community Events

Opening Receptions for major exhibitions. View the schedule of exhibitions here.

  • CVA Members Exhibition

    The Members exhibition is a hallmark of the Friends of CVA program, and is one the most eagerly anticipated shows during the Chautauqua season. VIEW 2023 CVA MEMBERS EXHIBITION HERE. The 2024 exhibition theme is “Nature Inspired”. Learn More and APPLY to 2024 MEMBERS EXHIBITION HERE.

  • Party on the Art Quad

    Wednesday, July 31, 2024, 5:30–7:30 p.m. Art Quad.

    Following the success of last year’s Party on the Art Quad, the Friends of CVA and Chautauqua Visual Arts will once again host our annual ticketed fundraising event in the heart of the CVA Arts Quad. The proceeds benefit the school of art. This event provides an opportunity to connect with fellow art lovers and to bid on original pieces of art as well as experiences, amphitheater performance tickets and more! Delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, music and more will all make for a super fun evening!  (Just make sure your dancing shoes are outdoor friendly)

    Tickets may be purchased in advance HERE beginning June 1, 2024 or at the Strohl Art Center once the season begins. Read more about the event HERE.

  • Chautauqua Connections

    Friends of CVA facilitates connections between the artists in residence enrolled at the School of Art and Chautauquans who are interested in learning more about the art making process and who are willing to make time to enrich the experience of the artists in residence in Chautauqua. This year Friends of CVA will be experimenting with an online community tool rather than making one-on-one pairings. You do not need to be on the grounds for an extended period in order to volunteer for the program. Even if you are on the grounds for just one week you will able and welcome to participate. Please email to be invited to join our online community.

  • Welcome Picnic

    The Chautauqua School of Art Welcome Picnic will return in 2024.

    Please email to be added to the invitation list. RSVPs will be requested to help us plan this special event.

  • Art in the Park

    Art in the Park is an open art fair with 75+ vendors held in Miller Park, showcasing art by members of the Chautauqua community, artists in residence from the School of Art, and artisans from the region around Chautauqua Institution. In 2024, Art in the Park will be held on the following Sundays: July 7, 2024 and August 4, 2024. Find out more HERE!

Annual Members Open Exhibition

Artists who are CVA Members at the Exhibiting level are welcome to submit a piece of original artwork for the CVA Members Open Exhibition in the Fowler Kellogg Art Center. Each year the diverse mix of styles and media bring in an audience eager to support the artists. We are pleased to announce that in 2024 the theme for the exhibition is Nature Inspired. The Members exhibition is a hallmark of the Friends of CVA program, and is one the most eagerly anticipated shows during the Chautauqua season. VIEW MEMBERS EXHIBITION HERE.

All artwork submitted must be available for sale. Exhibitors receive 50% of the revenue if their piece is sold during the exhibition.

If you are interested in becoming a board member of Friends of CVA let us know! It’s a wonderful way to support artists of all ages. Contact us at

Contact Us

For inquiries, comments and acquisitions, please feel free to contact us anytime. We welcome your input and conversation.
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