Guidelines for School Groups
Please be sure to read Planning Your Visit for general information about visiting the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.
The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University exhibits 28 major artworks, many by masters of 20th Century contemporary sculpture, spread dramatically across a wild prairie landscape. The park is within a one-hour bus ride from most of the Chicagoland area. There is plenty of free parking and a cafeteria, which is open Monday through Friday (Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). There is a $3.50 per-person fee for guided tours of the park for elementary and high school groups.
Our tours are thorough and age-appropriate. We can accommodate school groups from Grades 4 - 12, college and graduate students. Please plan on having one teacher and one chaperone for every 30 students. We prefer to limit groups to 75 but can accommodate larger groups with prior notice.
By contacting the park at least a month in advance of your visit, park staff will be able to arrange coverage for your tour. Presented either by park staff or trained docent volunteers, tour experiences are interactive and designed so that the visitor-student and adult alike comes away with an appreciation of the unique vision each artist has developed.
Experiencing the Park, a PowerPoint presentation that introduces students to important concepts dealing with sculpture and 3-Dimensional design is available by pre-arrangement. This presentation, with a question-and-answer period, is approximately 40 minutes long. There is no extra fee for Experiencing the Park.
Students, teachers, and chaperones are advised to wear comfortable, sturdy, walking shoes as extensive walking on uneven paths is required. Please ask your students to dress appropriately for the season. If you will be visiting during late spring or during the summer, we recommend bottled water for each student as we will be walking over a mile during the tour.
A recent high school art instructor wrote, upon his return to campus:
"We appreciated your willingness to personally tailor a program
that met our needs as well as far exceeded our expectations."
Because of its size and the outdoor nature of the park, we recommend you plan at least 1½ to 2 hours for your visit. You may sign up for one of two tours.
The north tour visits 14 works:
- Yes! For Lady Day - Mark diSuvero
- Oscar's Inclination - Michael Dunbar
- Illinois Landscape No. 5 - John Henry
- Flying Saucer - Jene Highstein
- House Divided - Bruce Nauman
- Falling Meteor - Jerry Peart
- Frame - Richard Rezac
- Untitled - Joel Shapiro
- Phoenix - Edvins Strautmanis
- Paul - Tony Tasset
- Sisyphus' Aviary - Dan Yarbrough
- The Granary Project - Dan Peterman
- Icarus - Charles Ginnever
- Spiral - Clement Meadmore
The south tour visits 11 works:
- Arc 3 - Mike Baur
- Sextant Yoke - Mike Baur
- Passage - James Brenner
- Throne (for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) - Ted Sitting Crow Garner
- Large Planar Hybrid - Richard Hunt
- Art Ark - Terry Karpowicz
- Field Rotation - Mary Miss
- Mock II - John Payne
- V-form and Forms in Blue - John Payne
- Working on the Failed Utopia - Christine Tarkowski
- Maquette for Oscar's Inclination
Custom tours can be pre-arranged by contacting the park office at least a month in advance.
There are paths to each of the works, and you can easily spend several hours ranging through our wild prairie landscape. If you visit at dusk and are very quiet, you may see some deer. We ask that you and your students pay heed to the following guidelines and rules:
- Teachers are in charge of their students-it is not the docent's job to be certain your group is together. The park extends over 100 acres and it is easy for groups to straggle. This is unfair to those who are keeping up-please make your students aware that they are to stay together at all times.
- You are allowed to walk off of the paths, however, be advised that there are areas of poison ivy throughout the open lands of the park.
- Do not climb on the sculptures. They are not playground structures. They are works of art, just as you would find in an indoor art museum and are subject to the same issues of deterioration – except ours have to live through the snow and cold of the Illinois winter and the sun and heat of the Illinois summer! Some of the works have already spent 45 years outdoors. Please be gentle with our art.
- Please do not pick our flowers or grasses. We want every visitor to be able to enjoy the same views you have experienced.
- Informal photography is allowed of both the art and the prairie. Commercial reproduction in any way is strictly prohibited. Please contact the park office if you are interested in printing images of any of our sculpture.
- GSU Public Safety policy dictates that your bus park in East Lot 3. If you or your students choose to return to the park on your own, please be aware that GSU Public Safety insists that all automobiles be parked in designated parking areas. Parking on the road shoulder or driving into the Park is absolutely prohibited. Violators are subject to towing at the owner's expense.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed within the park. Smoking is permitted only in designated areas near the buildings.
Please contact the Park staff if you have questions. Thank you.