Ashland Chautauqua - 17 years strong

By Deleasa Randall-Griffiths

August 8, 2016

The Ashland Chautauqua Planning Committee finished its 17th year this past July. Ashland Chautauqua 2016: Voices of Freedom, included five amazing scholars from around the country. The line-up included: Ilene Evans as Harriet Tubman, Judith Black as suffragist Lucy Stone, Dianne Moran as Civil War diarist Mary Chesnut, Charles Place as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and Karen Vuranch as Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.

Deleasa Randall-Griffiths, chair; Amy Daubenspeck, Ashland Convention and Visitors Bureau; Judy Webster, Band Shell Concert Coordinator; Lori Byron, Ashland University; Dorothy Stratton, AU Professor Emeritus, and Stacy Prochaska, Ashland City Schools are proud of the long history and wide array of themes and characters enriching the lives of Ashland community members for nearly two decades.  This committee of volunteers meet monthly to plan the five-day event, which includes daytime workshop, opening musical acts, and main stage performances. Founding member, Tricia Applegate, also serves as a consultant throughout the year.  Major sponsors, key to the survival of Ashland Chautauqua, are Ashland Main Street, The City of Ashland and the Ashland City Parks Department. Ashland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Ohio Humanities. Many other individuals and area businesses contribute finances and services to keep Ashland Chautauqua thriving.  

In 2000, Ashland served as a host community for the Ohio Humanities Council’s Ohio Chautauqua. This arrangement continued for two more years, at which time the committee began planning the event on its own, hosting the Ohio Chautauqua only two other times in the 17 year history.  Top scholar/performers come from as far west as California and as far east as New England, from Texas to the northern reaches of Minnesota. Finding quality scholars who carefully study history and excel at bringing characters to life is the primary goal of the committee and informs the selection criteria for each application.

This past fall, the committee reviewed so many strong applications they couldn’t narrow it down to only five.  Ashland Chautauqua 2017: Voices of Courage will continue the theme into next summer with a strong line-up of 20th century characters, including: civil rights activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, aviator Bessie Coleman, labor organizer Mother Jones and musical legend Maria Von Trapp. 

For more information visit www.ashlandchautauqua.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandChautauqua.  If you would like to be a sponsor for Ashland Chautauqua please contact Amy Daubenspeck at (419) 281-4584 or email info@ashlandchautauqua.org.

 

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