The Athens Chautauqua Society has witnessed phenomenal growth in its short history as a non-profit, community cultural organization in Athens-Clarke County providing humanities-focused, educational programs for the general public. In addition, we develop programs (currently virtual) that encourage and support civic discourse and engagement.

Athens is the only Georgia venue selected to participate in Greenville Chautauqua’s highly successful, History Comes Alive festival and programs that bring history to life through interactive theater and engaging lectures, and where compelling discussion stimulates critical thinking.  Both the Athens and Greenville Chautauquas believe “history comes alive” when historical characters tell their stories in their own words.

The “Chautauqua Movement” started in the late1870s to bring educational lectures and entertainment throughout small towns across the United States and Canada.

The Athens Chautauqua Society (a 501c3 nonprofit organized in 2019) is a “rebirth” of the first Athens Chautauqua that was held in April 1914 and continued for five more years until 1919. Most likely, the Spanish flu may have helped bring about its demise. Athens Chautauqua Society is now attempting to revitalize this “movement” even during the time of COVID 19 by using virtual learning.

Like the Chautauqua Institution founded in 1874 near Jamestown, New York, the Athens Chautauqua Society is “dedicated to the exploration of the best in human values and the enrichment of life through a program that explores the important religious, social and political issues of our times.”

Board of Directors
Dr. Peter Balsamo, President; Dr. Art Crawley, Past President; Terry Kaley, Secretary; John Muthe, Treasurer Dr. Andy Horne, Tom Kenyon, Kendell Turner, Dr. Bill Alworth, John Roeder, Madeline Van Dyck

Upcoming Events

All Athens Chautauqua Events are Free.

Youth and Opportunity: What Should We Do for Future Generations to Thrive? (Virtual public deliberation on Zoom)

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 2:30 pm to 4 pm EDT

Moderated by Dr. Margaret Holt, Emerita Professor of Adult Education at The University of Georgia. Offered as part of a new Public Deliberation Series in collaboration with the National Issues Forum


Rosa Parks@2155: The Significance of Her Legacy

Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 4 – 5 p.m. EDT
Presented by Riché Richardson, Ph.D.


Reinventing America (Live Theatre)
At the Historical Morton Theatre, Athens, GA
Rosa Parks date and time to be determined
Benjamin Franklin date and time to be determined


The opinions and comments expressed by our presenters are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Athens Chautauqua Society, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering civic engagement through thoughtful discourse, historic reenactments, and community outreach.

We Need Your Help

Donations are needed for the nonprofit Athens Chautauqua Society to take flight. Your tax deductible contribution will be used exclusively to produce Chautauqua History Comes Alive programs in Athens, GA which includes engaging theatre along with in-person and virtual lectures or talks. You will receive a receipt documenting your tax-deductible support for the Athens Chautauqua Society.

Greenville Chautauqua (GC) currently serves as fiscal agent for the developing Athens Chautauqua program.

Mail your check payable to Greenville Chautauqua, 11 Rock Side Court, Greenville, SC 29615. Write “Athens Chautauqua” on the memo line or Donate to Athens Chautauqua online:


You will be directed to a secure PayPal website where you can donate either with your credit card or your PayPal account. You do not need a PayPal account to donate.

Thanks for your support of the Athens Chautauqua Society

For questions and suggestions, please email athenschau@gmail.com