A walk through the green and open space of the Elden Sculpture Garden takes you to the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, which sits within the campus of Hyde Park's University of Chicago. An artistic and intellectual force among the city's many art collections, the museum houses works that span more than 5,000 years. The permanent collection exceeds 9,000 pieces of painting, sculpture and decorative art, ranging from vases of ancient Greece to twentieth-century paintings by Mark Rothko and Diego Rivera.
One of the collection’s many strengths is its commitment to the work of Chicago artists such as Ed Paschke and other Imagists, as well as newer emerging artists working in this city. Three of the museum's six exhibition galleries rotate permanent collection displays of Modern Art, the Arts of Asia and Contemporary Art. The other three galleries show rotating special exhibitions, often developed in conjunction with university faculty and students, as well as with other institutions.
A strong presence in the Hyde Park community, the museum balances its academic audience with a more widespread one: It hosts a series of ongoing free events (aligned with the daily free admission to the galleries) including lectures and tours. Family programs also play a big part in the museum's outreach efforts, and families with children of all ages are invited to attend workshops, engage in games, and experience artist demonstrations and performances. For a solo venture, enjoy the museum shop and cafe, both of which are open daily for a great place to relax and browse the exhibition catalogues.
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha