Sculpture Garden & Reception Hall

Vera and A. D. Elden Sculpture Garden and Eunice Ratner Reception Gallery

Elden Sculpture Garden

Vera and A. D. Elden Sculpture Garden

Situated between the Smart and Art History buildings, the sculpture garden offers a modern take on the classic quadrangles found around the University of Chicago's campus. The courtyard, which was recently renovated under the direction of landscape architect Chandra Goldsmith and UrbanLab, features a distinctive, sloping hill and a patchwork of green grass, native plantings, and river stones. It is home to contemporary sculptures by notable American and European artists Scott Burton, Jene Highstein, Richard Hunt, Louise Nevelson, and Arnaldo Pomodoro, as well as an annual Threshold art banner installation.

In warmer months, the courtyard has outdoor seating for our café

Smart Museum reception hall

Eunice Ratner Reception Gallery

The Smart's light-filled reception hall is the public heart of the Museum. The high, half-barrel vaulted ceiling—a signature element in architect Edward Larrabee Barnes's design—creates an airy space that is home to not only our café and shop, family day activities, wedding receptions, and the occasional concert, but also the site-specific contemporary commissions featured in our Threshold series.

Top: Installation view of Jene Highstein, Truncated Pyramid, 1989, Carved marble. Photo by John Faier.
Above: Light pours in the Smart Museum's reception hall. Photo by Chris Strong.
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  • The Threshold series brings a major installation of contemporary art to the Smart Museum’s reception hall and sculpture garden each year, ensuring that all visitors—whether they have come to the building for a class, an exhibition, or a cup of coffee—will instantly encounter new art.

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