Big Ideas are presented here through contemporary sculpture on a large scale

Governors State University's Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park provides the Chicagoland region with a premier presentation of large-scale contemporary sculpture. Programs and events present the landscape and sculpture in new and unexpected ways that are both educational and inspiring. The park is supported by volunteers and donors who believe in its mission and its primary goals of education, acquisition and conservation.

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Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
Governors State University
1 University Parkway
University Park, IL 60484-0975

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Director / Curator:

Jeff Stevenson


Education Coordinator:

Kathleen Enright


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Mission, Vision, and Values



The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University presents significant large-scale public art, inspiring visitors to experience Art and Nature in new and unexpected ways.



The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park will be recognized globally for its collection of large-scale public art. Our museum-in-the-prairie will expand the cultural horizons of our visitors with innovative exhibitions, programs, and integrated arts and nature experiences.


ExcellenceWe shall perform to the highest standards.
IntegrityWe shall act in accordance with our beliefs.
CommitmentWe shall give generously of our time and experience.
StewardshipWe believe that Art and Nature are vital resources to be conserved and made available to all.
EducationWe believe learning is a lifelong journey and will honor the commitment of Governors State University and our Founders to Art and Education.
We believe creativity enhances Education and will support and promote the union of Art,

Nature, and University Life.





Formally established by the Governors State University Board of Trustees in 1978, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park was named for Nathan Manilow, a visionary developer who, along with Carrol Sweet and Philip Klutznick, formed American Community Builders at the conclusion of World War II. They planned and built the neighboring Village of Park Forest for returning GIs. The history of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park predates GSU in that sculptor Mark diSuvero spent the summers of 1968 and 1969 living and building sculpture on the land that was to become the university.

1968-69 - Lewis Manilow, son of Nathan Manilow, loans the use of a house on the future campus of GSU to sculptor Mark diSuvero. DiSuvero spends two summers creating sculpture. His presence attracts other artists: John Chamberlain, Richard Hunt, John Henry, Charles Ginnever and Jerry Peart, among others, to the area. DiSuvero creates at least three sculptures: "Yes! for Lady Day," "Prairie Chimes" and "The Mohican."

1969-71 - Governors State University is chartered. The campus is built and occupied.

1976 - "The Sculptor, the Campus, and the Prairie" is presented by "The Governors State University Center for Monumental Sculpture." The groundbreaking exhibition includes work by seven sculptors arrayed across the campus. Bill Engbretson, first president of GSU, retires. Dr. Leo Goodman-Malamuth is installed as president.

1971 - Nathan Manilow dies. Lewis Manilow assumes the helm of Manilow business interests. He purchases and donates Mark diSuvero's "Yes! for Lady Day" to GSU.

1978 - GSU Board of Trustees formally names the growing collection of artworks on campus "The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park."

1981 - Mary Miss is commissioned by the Park Forest South Cultural Foundation to create "Field Rotation."

1982 - Martin Puryear is commissioned by the Park Forest South Cultural Foundation to create "Bodark Arc."

1983 - Bruce Nauman is commissioned by the Park Forest South Cultural Foundation to create "House Divided."

1992 - President Goodman-Malamuth retires, Paula Wolfe named third president of GSU.

2000 - President Wolfe resigns.  Dr. Stuart Fagan is installed as  president of GSU. He and his wife, Dr. Ora Simcha-Fagan, begin to work with the director of the State of Illinois Capital Development Board's  Percent for Art program to realize a series of commissions for the park.

2002 - GSU convenes a selection committee which selects three artists from 22 maquettes submitted for consideration to create commissioned works for the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.

2003 - The park receives "Lanleff Demeure No. 4" by Henri Etienne-Martin as a gift from The Art Institute of Chicago.

2005 - Richard Rezac completes work on "Frame," the first of three works resulting from the Percent for Art Program commissions. Christine Tarkowski installs "Working on the Failed Utopia," another Capital Development Board project.

2006 - Tony Tasset delivers "Paul," the final installation of the 2002 commissions.

2007 - President Fagan retires. Dr. Elaine P. Maimon is named fifth president of GSU. Geoffrey Bates is appointed as the first Director and Curator for the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park Advisory Board is constituted and develops and approves bylaws. Dan Peterman is commissioned to create "The Granary Project," an additional CDP Percent for Art project.

2009 - "Horizons," a 12-figure installation by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, becomes the first "Solo Exhibition Series" presentation.

2010 - The Art Institute of Chicago donates Clement Meadmore's "Spiral," on site since 1984, to the park. "Neil Goodman in the Park" is the second "Solo Exhibition Series" presentation.

2012 - Yvonne Domenge donates "Windwaves" to the park. "Solo Exhibition Series" presentation "Sophie Ryder's 'Upside Down, Kneeling" appears in the park.


Jeff Stevenson


Jeff Stevenson, Interim Director and Curator

Jeff Stevenson has more than 30 years of professional experience in the visual arts as a practicing studio artist, arts writer, college professor, curator and gallery director. As Interim Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, he oversees programming, presentation, conservation and acquisition for the park’s collection of 29 large-scale artworks. Stevenson earned a BS in Medical Illustration from The Ohio State University and an MFA in Painting from Ohio University. He has served on boards and committees with the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, and the Flossmoor Village Art Commission, in his hometown, Flossmoor, Illinois.