Art to Live With

The beloved Art to Live With program is back after a decades-long hiatus!

This fall, students living in the University of Chicago’s seven residence halls will once again have the opportunity to personally borrow original works of art to live with in their dorm rooms. Students will be able to select from 75 specially designated artworks in the Smart Museum’s Art to Live With collection, including prints by Marc Chagall, Eleanor Coen, Francisco de Goya, Margo Hoff, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso.

The program is open to current UChicago students living in College Housing. Works will be loaned at no cost for the duration of the academic year. 

Key dates and FAQ

Presented by the Smart Museum of Art with generous support from Greg Wendt (AB ’83), who once borrowed an Art to Live With print by Sven Lukin.


Follow @art_to_live_with on Instagram or browse below to learn how you can hang this art in your dorm room.


The University of Chicago’s Art to Live With student loan program began in the fall quarter of 1958. It was “the product of conversations between artist-dean of students Harold Haydon and alumnus-art collector Joseph Randall Shapiro,” reported the University of Chicago Magazine. Shapiro, who would become the founding president of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, first loaned and then donated nearly 400 works on paper by modern European and local Chicago artists to the University. It was one of the country’s first university art rental programs.

“The best way to become acquainted with art—and to appreciate it—is to live with it.”—art collector and alumnus Joseph R. Shapiro, on the launch of the Art to Live With program in 1958

Shapiro hoped the program “would acquaint students with the experience of having an original work of art to live with.” The program was active for much of the 1960s and 1970s. At the beginning of each quarter, students would select works in Ida Noyes Hall, securing the loan with a payment of 50¢ to $1 for insurance. In the 1980s, however, the loan program was discontinued and works put in storage. In the 1990s, the collection was transferred to the Smart Museum. Under the Smart Museum, works associated with the program were conserved and installed in University buildings and residential common spaces for students and others to enjoy.


Emily Edwards
Art to Live With Registration and Programming Coordinator
Smart Museum of Art

Photos by Rus Arnold from “Art to Live With,” University of Chicago Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 6, March 1959.