ANNUAL Chautauqua Sept. 30, 2017

WHEN:    Saturday, September 30, 2017, 9am - 5pm.

WHERE:  Historic Chautauqua Auditorium and in surrounding Getzendaner Park, Waxahachie, Texas.  Just 30 miles south of downtown Dallas!

WHAT:  An annual free daylong cultural and educational event of speakers, programs, demonstrations, music, and exhibits which expand on a different theme each year.  This event is reminiscent  of the old Chautauqua held in Waxahachie 1900-1930.  

2017 THEME:  "CELEBRATING PUBLIC SPACES", looking at public spaces through the perspectives of history, science, city planning, art, music, and so much more!   

OPENING KEYNOTE:  Allison Blais, C.O.O. of the 9/11 Memorial in New York, will explore the design, planning, and evolving role of this iconic American public space in:  "A Place of Remembrance and Resilience." 

PROGRAMS, so far:

  • THOMAS JEFFERSON As Portrayed By STEVEN EDENBO:  Thomas Jefferson is considered to be one of the most influential architects of all time.  It turns out that Jefferson's architecture and political ideas were completely entwined and his intention was that together they would safeguard liberty and democracy forever.   Steven Edenbo will come from Philadelphia on 9/30 to bring Jefferson's architectural vision to the Chautauqua Auditorium stage and his role in America's architecture, landscapes and public spaces. Mr. Edembo is a scholar/actor/historian whos has been researching, portraying and immersing himself in Thomas Jefferson for 18 years, including Monticello, the Smithsonian Institution, History Channel, and so many more.
  • ARCHITECT WILLIAM SIDNEY PITTMAN:  The story of renowned African American architect William Sidney Pittman will come to the Chautauqua on 9/30 to help celebrate sacred Public Spaces. Pittman was the son-in-law of Booker T. Washington and is considered to be the first African American architect in Texas.  His buildings are famous throughout the country, in Texas,  in Dallas and also Waxahachie’s own Joshua Chapel AME Church from 1917, just 100 years ago.  Speaker George Keaton, Jr. will share William Sidney Pittman’s life and story with us. He is the founder and executive director of Remembering Black Dallas Inc, a non-profit that preserves and promotes the African American life, history, artifacts, and culture of Dallas.
  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT KEVIN SLOAN:   Back to Chautauqua by popular demand, renowned Dallas landscape architect Kevin Sloan brings his wealth of experience and creative solutions in landscape design to the Chautauqua Assembly 9/30. Mr. Sloan's public projects are nationally and internationally recognized. His studio's projects range from large urban planning and landscape programs, crafted landscapes such as at the Dallas Urban Reserve, the Centennial Quadrangle and Pavilion at Southern Methodist University, and the 17-acre spring fed Vitruvian Park.  Learn more....
    "All are welcome here;  Of like and different mind".  
    These lyrics will welcome all to the 2017 Chautauqua to a day celebrating Public Spaces on 9/30.  The words are part of a song written by OFS creative director R.G. Huff, "All Are Welcome Here" . The powerful voices of the Old Fashioned Singers will reverberate from the historic walls of the Chautauqua Auditorium at 9am.   Learn all about the Old Fashioned Singing Project.

  • CHAUTAUQUA SPACES:  For the first time since the 2000 revival of the Waxahachie Chautauqua, the 2017 Assembly will actually include a program ABOUT Chautauqua!  Archivist Jon Schmitz from the Chautauqua Institution in NY will tell the story of the Public Spaces of Chautauqua, through history and across the country.  And we'll get to discover how the Waxahachie Chautauqua fits in with all those other spaces! 

  • CITY OF WAXAHACHIE:  In 2017, the City of Waxahachie has a particular focus on the design of new public spaces as well as updates to current spaces.  Find out how this small town sees the future of its dynamic Public Spaces. 

  • BIRDS OF PREY FLIGHT DEMONSTRATIONS:  Up Close with Birds of Prey - join Kelley Raynor from "Last Chance Forever" Birds of Prey Conservancy and their dynamic and dramatic raptors on display as they soar through Getzendaner Park.  A welcome addition to any park or outdoor Public Space!

Check back frequently for the latest program additions! 

AND sign up for our mailing list to receive a monthly newsletter to watch as the the Sept. 30th program evolves.    


(2016): "the world of water" - Sat. Sept. 24, 2016

 A daylong celebration of WATER through history, archeology, aquaponics, sea shanties, landscape architecture, glass harp, Handel's "Water Music", and so much more. Keynote speaker was Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau telling us about his "The Great Ocean Adventure."

See 2016 PRESENTATIONS (pdf)
See 2016 FLYER (pdf)
See 2016 EXHIBITS & DEMOS (pdf) 

See 2016 SCHEDULE for the day of 9/24/2016
See 2016 BROCHURE (pdf) 


(2015): "Chautauqua celebrates flight" - Sat. Sept. 26, 2015

 A daylong celebration of FLIGHT through human space flight, DaVinci's flying machines, ancient Mayan dances of flight, WWII pilots, and flight demonstrations of both drones and birds of prey.  We also honored Waxahachie native Bessie Coleman, first female African American pilot, with a re-enactment of her life.  Keynote speaker was Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut, telling the "Lessons Learned from the Ill-Fated Apollo 13 Mission."   

See 2015 FLYER (pdf)
See 2015 PRESENTATIONS (pdf)
See 2015 EXHIBITS & DEMOS (pdf)
Houston Chronicle article about the 2015 Chautauqua festival.