Lewis Manilow Common Ground Initiative 


The Lewis Manilow Common Ground Initiative supports our arts education programs with an emphasis on Social Justice.

The Lewis Manilow Common Ground Initiative serves as a dedicated program and fund of the park aimed at bringing local communities together through arts education. The initiative provides support materials for area school teachers and classrooms and other resources to create a tradition for regular visits to theNate.

What if monumental, abstract, outdoor sculpture turns out to be the very thing we’ve been looking for to change the world for the better?

Here at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, we believe that the confounding nature of abstract art offers us equal opportunity for curiosity, and provides a level playing field because of its mysteries.

And we also believe that simply getting to know people who are different from ourselves is a powerful way to foster understanding, create connection, and build relationships – relationships that one by one can ultimately improve the divisive world we all experience today.

We can all think of a time when we got to know someone very different from ourselves, and the positive impact that experience had. Maybe it was through travel across the country, travel overseas, or simply getting out of our comfort zone and talking to a stranger.

Frankfort is 9.6 miles to the west of GSU, and Ford Heights is 9.8 miles to the east. For those who are familiar with these communities, they could not be more different. Frankfort is a primarily white community, that benefits from being invested-in, affluent, with resources and access, while Ford Heights is a black community and one of the most neglected, impoverished, and socially isolated in the whole Chicagoland region.

Would visitors from disparate communities such as these - “from Frankfort to Ford Heights” - be able to experience neutral ground here at theNate?

What if on this neutral ground, sharing the mysteries of the collection, new friendships are born and new projects are imagined? Projects that could eventually improve our communities.

In our original documents, news articles, and catalogs about the collection, the central theme through it all was Lew Manilow’s relationships – his relationships with the artists, the administrators, and the neighbors.

His relationships brought into being this project we now call theNate.

Common Ground is a term used to describe something that can be agreed upon even when people are in conflict.

Common Ground is this shared location, this sense of place, this region, this history we have shared.  

Hopefully you’ve experienced the park for yourself, and understand the power of the collection.

With your support, we now have an opportunity to continue this work by:

o   Maintaining and caring for the art in the collection and the land around it

o   Energizing the collection through new acquisitions and visiting exhibitions

o   Welcoming more area school children to Outdoors@theNate

And through the Lewis Manilow Common Ground Initiative, which will foster relationships and reciprocal learning, we can start a NEW tradition – a tradition that will follow Lew’s example and work toward social equity in our region and beyond.

With your support throughout the year, we plan to do all that we can, from where we are, with what we have to work with - and make a difference in our community and our world.

Won’t you join us?

Donation Questions:
Email us at engage@govst.edu or Call us at +1.708.235.7510