Art to Live With

An art loan program, exclusively for University of Chicago students

Art to Live With offers UChicago students living in residence halls the unique opportunity to borrow original works of art to display in their dorm rooms.

This fall, choose from specially designated artworks, including new acquisitions selected by our Student Advisory Committee. Works will be loaned at no cost for the duration of the academic year. Discover a collection curated for student dorm rooms and find your match!

2023 dates

Questions? Consult the Art to Live With FAQ (PDF) »

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, and Joseph R. Shapiro, EX’34, the program’s original benefactor. Additional support has been provided by Dolores and Donn Shapiro.


“The enjoyment of art is something that multiplies by division...share it with people and it becomes a communal experience, a motivational force for drawing people together.”—art collector and alumnus Joseph R. Shapiro

Download the Art to Live With brochure (PDF), follow @art_to_live_with on Instagram, or browse below to learn how you can hang this art in your dorm room.


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

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 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.

Shapiro hoped the program “would acquaint students with the experience of having an original work of art to live with.” 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. In fall 2017, the program returned and works from the Art to Live With collection were once again made available for loan to students.

Top photos by Eddie Quinones. Historical photos by Rus Arnold from “Art to Live With,” University of Chicago Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 6, March 1959.