Advisory Board for theNate (left to right) Elizabeth L. Kelley, Paul Uzureau, Leona Calvin, Kim L. Bright, Jennifer Traff, Patricia Mell Ragland (president), Jeff Stevenson (director, curator), Dr. Cheryl Green (GSU president), Tim Brennan, Yvonne Orr El, Jason Zingsheim (DAL chair), Gregg Lunceford, Jacqueline James Lewis, Aaron West (student member), Al Sturges. Not pictured: Shay Brokemond, Levoi Brown, Susan Ormsby, Victoria Strole

The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is a collection of 30 master works of large-scale sculpture situated within 100 acres of prairie landscape. This “museum-in-the-prairie” is open for public viewing 365 days a year and is free of charge. The Park provides programs for adults and children that integrate art and nature. Although it is located on the campus of Governors State University, it was founded and is maintained through grants and donations from businesses and individuals.

Contact Information

Director and Curator:

Jeff Stevenson


Education and Outreach Coordinator:

Sherri Denault


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



Mission, Vision, and Values



The three pillars of our mission are: Art, Conservation, and Education.

The Park has put the Southland on the map culturally through curating forward-thinking exhibitions.

It is one of the few outdoor sanctuaries in the south suburbs of Chicago where the natural landscape is strikingly beautiful throughout all four seasons. As such, one of our core values is to conserve and expand the natural prairieland. Prairie Restorers join humanist and scholar Bill Dodd in his mission to leave the landscape better than we found it. Donations augment the Bill Dodd Memorial Fund and are allocated towards this conservation ethic.

 The Park also serves as a living laboratory for area school children teaching popular S.T.E.M. (Sience, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles through the artwork, in our Outdoors@the NATE program. S.T.E.M. becomes STEAM with the infusion of ART. This program opens young minds to new opportunities and ways of thinking through critical thinking, investigation, play and exploration.

We've also recently upgraded our visitor experience with the help of automation app partner Otocast, creating a real-time guide to the park, a map of the entire collection, additional photos and information, and with recorded commentary by many of the artists.

Not all contributions are financial. Docents give of their time to serve our community and students in leading educational tours and themed explorations of the Park.




The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is recognized globally for its collection of large-scale public art. Our museum-in-the-prairie expands 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.

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.

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.

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."

1987 - Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park Catalog printed

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

To read a 1996 synopsis of the park's history click here

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 CDB 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.

2013 - "Illinois Landscape No. 5" by John Henry is painted and conserved.

2014 - "Solo Exhibition Series" presentation "Don't Tread on Me: Sculpture by Chakaia Booker" appears in the park.

2016 - "Flying Saucer" by Jene Highstein is rebuilt, painted and conserved.

2017 - "Bodark Arc" by Martin Puryear has restoration/conservation work on the wooden gate, begun in 2016, completed. Director, Curator Geoffrey Bates retires, Jeff Stevenson is appointed the new Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park and the Visual Arts Gallery. "Solo Exhibition Series" presentation of "Don't Tread on Me: Sculpture by Chakaia Booker" is extended until Summer 2018.

December 12, 2017 Lewis Manilow dies

2018 - "Untitled (Firenze)", 1962 by Abbott Pattison, donated by Sean Susanin, is installed. The "Butterfly Ranch" prairie restoration (Openlands/ComEd Grant) project, is begun with mowing and treating the invasive plant species, and seeding native species.

2019 - "Lanleff Demeure, No. 4", 1961 by Henri Etienne-Martin is restored and relocated to the Patio adjacent to E Lounge in GSU's main campus building. "Untitled", 1982 by Joel Shapiro conserved and relocated to the same patio to be in conversation with Lanleff Demeure. Conservation repairs and coating treatment completed for Bruce Nauman's "House Divided"

Sculpture, Wine & Dine (annual fundraiser) Honorary Chair, Susan Manilow, leads the way for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of GSU and theNate. The Lewis Manilow Common Ground Initiative is announced.

"Rudder", by Neil Goodman installed  (long term loan) in the new park "room" for temporary sculpture exhibits.

New trail along the north edge of the Butterfly Ranch established, connecting "Bodark Arc" to "Flying Saucer". Site for observation deck identified, Art in Architecture / Percent for Art project initiated.

2020 - Paul and Linda Uzureau make a major gift to commission a new work by artist Terrence Karpowicz.

Illinois Capital Development Board, Art in Architecture finalist selected: Bernard Williams.

Mark di Suvero's "Yes! For Lady Day" repaired and painted; Edvins Strautmanis' "Phoenix" painted. 

Dr. Elaine P. Maimon retires and GSU's sixth president Dr. Cheryl Green is welcomed.

Virtual Event: "Prairie Party / Date With theNate" presents theNate Board's message of Art, Conservation, and Education. 

2021 - Paul and Linda Uzureau make an additional gift to establish the New Acquisitions Fund

"Oscar's Inclination" by Michael Dunbar, and "Windwaves" by Yvonne Domenge are painted.

"Stargazing with Contrails" by Terrence Karpowicz is installed; Sculpture, Wine & Dine event is held in-person with pandemic restrictions.

The Manilow Family Trust makes a major gift to theNate for acquisitions and conservation.



theNate Advisory Board November, 2018

Left to Right:
Gregg Lunceford, Lee Kelley, Victoria Strole, Jeff Stevenson, Regine Rousseau, Paul Uzureau, (Abbott Pattison "Untitled, Firenze") Patricia Mell Ragland, Jyoti Srivastava, Jason Zingsheim, Leona Calvin, Lawrence Collins, Jacqueline James Lewis, Mike Perrott
Not pictured:
Jerry Anderson, Shay Brokemond, Susan Ormsby, Al Sturges
Sherri Denault, Jim Zumerchik, Will Davis, Karen Caesar, Karen Schander, Jane Cox

  Jeff Stevenson 
Jeff Stevenson, 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 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.