The Smart Museum of Art serves not only the community of the University of Chicago but its South Side neighborhood and beyond.
Through its year-round schedule of scholarly and nationally regarded exhibitions, accompanying publications, and public programs, the Museum engages a wide range of audiences and is free and open to all. Since its inception, the Smart has remained committed to its dynamic role in expanding the artistic canon, rethinking entrenched histories and narratives, and introducing new perspectives. As we observe our 50th anniversary, we honor our history and plan for the future.
Our exhibition program typically include four exhibitions per year that draw on the collection, commissions from contemporary artists, and objects on loan from institutional partners and private collectors to reevaluate canonic histories and curatorial strategies. As an academic museum at the University of Chicago, the Smart values rigorous scholarship that challenges traditional academic boundaries and exemplifies this in its deeply researched exhibitions which are conceived in partnership with classes in various disciplines, as well as through its publication program and academic teaching outreach.
Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry & Student Engagement
Curricular engagement is a central part of the Smart Museum’s work and, with the help of the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, and broader resources are integrated into teaching, learning, and research at the University of Chicago. Through the Feitler Center, the Museum supports hundreds of University class visits each year, incorporating impactful engagements with art into the University’s curriculum and transforming the Museum into a classroom.
Art to Live With
Art to Live With is an art loan program that offers UChicago students living in residence halls the unique opportunity to borrow original works of art to display in their dorm rooms. Originating in 1958, the program provides over 130 students each year with annual loans of artwork and is often called one of the most important experiences for UChicago students.
The Smart is the only fine art museum on the South Side of Chicago and is part of a vibrant cultural ecosystem at the University and in Chicago. According to a recent survey conducted by the University’s Office of Civic Engagement, South Side community members cited the Smart among the top three most recognizable institutions at the University of Chicago. Part of this recognition comes from the Museum’s nearly 50-year history of being free and welcoming to all, as well as its ambitious public programs and extensive history of K–12 engagement.
Art in Public Spaces
Public art at UChicago makes the campus a unique destination, even in a city long renowned for its collections. With unexpected and arresting sculptures tucked around corners and in buildings, public art creates countless moments for spontaneous community building and conversation. It extends the intellectual life of our University beyond classrooms, libraries, and labs, and into the everyday spaces that shape our experiences.
For more information please contact:
Director of Development