chautauqua in the dunes

Chautauqua In the Dunes Is Happening!

Relive the cultural, educational, artistic, and historic experience of the 1880s-1920s Chautauquas. Based on the model of the Chautauqua Institute in New York, guests will experience lectures, interactive discussions, hands-on workshops, artistic performances, and a creative makerspace.

Chautauqua in the Dunes brings together learners of all ages to explore and engage the mind, body, and spirit of the individual in the context of cooperative, experiential learning. It seeks to change individual’s worldview through interdisciplinary thought, expression, education, information, and presentation. Finally it seeks to create understanding across pre-conceived barriers (racial/ethnic, geographic, socio-economic, cultural, etc).


The schedule for the 2020 Chautauqua in the Dunes is:

Friday, September 11

7 pm, online, Race in Entertainment Panel Discussion with Will Akins, Keith Evans, and Kiera Shackleford 

8 pm, State Park Nature Center, Interactive Drum Circle with Tony Martinez


Saturday, September 12

9-11 am, online, Flash Fiction Writing Workshop with Hoosier Author Lucrecia Guerrero 

10am-4pm, State Park City West Shelter, Creative Makerspace

11am-1pm, State Park City West Shelter, Jessie Howe demonstration 

1-3 pm, State Park City West Shelter, Joe Rauen demonstration 


Sunday, September 13

10am-4pm, State Park City West Shelter, Creative Makerspace 

11am-12pm, online, Poetry Journaling Workshop with Prof. Jared Riddle 

12-1 pm, online, Pioneer Cooking Presentation with Phil and Michelle Pendergrass 

1-3 pm, State Park City West Shelter, Joe Rauen demonstration 

All times central time. All events are free. Donations accepted. Some workshops require pre-registration. There is a per vehicle entry fee to the State Park. 

Register or donate at

Guests attending the Creative Makerspace will be able to select from a variety of art projects to make and take including historically inspired crafts, instruments, and art pieces inspired by the Indiana Dunes.The Makerspace will also have two artist demonstrations.

This year may look a bit different than previous years, but we have some great programming planned both on site and virtually, so no matter where guests join from, they can experience Chautauqua in the Dunes! If you do plan to visit in person, please come prepared to follow prescribed social distancing protocols including hand washing, mask wearing, and maintaining proper distancing. Guests can bring their own chairs to help facilitate distancing or spread out at one of the many picnic tables. Most events will take place at City West Shelter within the picnic area of Indiana Dunes State Park. 

We are pleased to partner with Indiana Dunes State Park on their History Comes Alive weekend, Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Department of Natural Resources for Arts in the Parks, Indiana Humanities for Indiana Author Workshops, Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation, and Indiana Dunes Tourism. 


Sue Baxter