University Park, IL,
13:28 PM

GSU Creates Virtual Tours of Sculpture Park and Visual Art Gallery

While Governor Pritzker’s stay-at-home order is extended to April 30, the time and potential for self-growth is as unprecedented as our current predicament. In the now empty parts of our days, people are looking to art to fill the gaps. Jeff Stevenson, Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (theNate) and Visual Arts Gallery at Governors State University, is eager to bring the art from GSU into people’s homes by providing virtual tours––something he views as essential to growth.

“The founder of theNate, Lew Manilow, recognized how art serves as one of our brain’s organizing systems, and that one of the reasons it has survived and thrived for tens of thousands of years is that art raises our aspirations and helps us to imagine and achieve great goals,” Stevenson said.

By downloading Otocast, you can take a virtual tour of theNate, complete with photos of each large-scale sculpture and accompanying text, and even recorded audio from many of the artists discussing their works on display.

While art challenges how we view the world, how we think, and how we feel, it also comforts us as already-familiar pieces in the tour pop up like old friends. In uncertain times we cling to absolutes, and the imposing structures of the sculpture park seem unchanging. What is different is––us.

Stevenson reflects on the artwork that started the park, “Yes! For Lady Day” by Mark di Suvero. 

“It predates the university as the artist was here on this land making his art at the invitation of Lew Manilow. The artist presents familiar materials and objects (steel I-Beams, a railroad tank car) in a unique composition paying tribute to his inspiration, Billie Holiday. A look back at our history can reassure us as we look to our future in hopes of better days,” he said.

Stevenson has also recorded a tour of The Visual Arts Gallery’s current exhibition, "Sarah Krepp: tatting <--> tearing." The exhibition’s timing in the gallery seems like a premonition, as the––now abundant––familiarity of home is juxtaposed to the fear and anxiety created by the harshness of reality.

“The exhibition provides opportunities for exploration of the delicate comfort of the home and domestic shelter, and the brute force of the road through the materials Krepp employs: shredded tires, paint, text, and lace,” Stevenson notes.

As we look to a future filled with more questions than answers, we are bolstered by our past: in the steel I-Beams of di Suvero’s sculpture we see the broad shoulders of Chicagoans; through Krepp’s lace under shredded tires we are reminded that the comforts of home are our cornerstone on which we can deal with even the most frightening predicaments.

In our darkest times, we find talents and strengths within ourselves that, in a more comfortable time, would have lain dormant.