Home Is Where the Art Is

May 14, 2018 update: GOOD NEWS! Two major donations came in for the campaign but the checks went directly to the foundation account - so the original goal of 25K has been adjusted down to 20K to reflect a donation of 1000 and a donation of 4000! 

so that means that we have raised 6,045 so far in total.
Those who wish to write a check and mail it in please make check payable to: "GSU Foundation - NMSP" and mail to:
Jeff Stevenson
Director & Curator, Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park and Visual Arts Gallery
Governors State University
1 University Parkway, University Park, IL 60484

We are Marie and Nathan, two first year students at Governors State University.
 Join us in our fundraising campaign to restore and relocate a bronze sculpture that will result in a new art garden within our sculpture park.

One day we were out exploring and discovered a strange thing - a bronze sculpture - really far from campus, overgrown with weeds, and in need of some love and attention. When we started asking about it, we found out that it was part of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park and that there was more to the story.

In 2003, the Art Institute of Chicago gave the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park a gift: a bronze sculpture by the name of Lanleff-Demure No. 4. - created in 1961 in France by artist Henri Etienne-Martin.

28321390_15208106870_r.jpegLanleff-Demure No. 4 - Photo taken in 2003

The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park happily accepted the gift, and Lanleff-Demure No. 4 became one of the 29 master works in the Park's collection. It was placed in a relatively remote area, the original house on the property, which was being used as a conference center at that time.

When the building needed rennovation, it was financially wiser to relocate activities to a different area on the main part of campus, and eventually the house fell into disuse. No one gets to see this cool sculpture any more!

The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park wants to move the sculpture but must raise funds to do so, and other maintenance priorities have put this project pretty far down on the list.

Today, the sculpture still sits next to the abandoned GSU Conference Center. It's overgrown by weeds, showing signs of damage. People who visit and volunteer at the park don't even know where to find it!  We only found it because we were out exploring one day, walking down a closed driveway into the wooded area where it is located. We weren't even sure it was still part of the campus!

The damage and overgrowth can be seen in the following photos...

The purpose of this campaign is to change all this.

With your help, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park will finally have the funds to restore the sculpture and move it to a new, more visible location in the park. These funds would allow the park to pay for the rental services of a crane, transport, and restoration services.

To us, the students organizing this campaign, this will allow Lanleff-Demure No. 4 to be, once again, viewed and appreciated by GSU students and staff, and those who visit and volunteer at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park - instead of slowly decaying in an abandoned location. We owe it to the artist who created it to take care of the piece and put it where it can be seen.

All donations will go to the Governors State University Foundation, NMSP (501c3) 

We called this campaign "Home is Where the ART is" because the students at GSU get to live in the middle of a sculpture park and also have lots of artwork indoors, all over campus. Art is important for education and for life so here are a few words from the Director of the Sculpture Park about that:


I'm Jeff Stevenson, the Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. I've been in this position for about a year now and am honored to serve as an advocate for this important collection, sharing it with visitors from around the world. It is humbling to be working with such significant masterworks made by artists who are giants of the art world. These works are the best examples of their storied careers, so it is not an overstatement to say that this is a world-class collection.

Jonathan Fineberg, author of "Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain" said in an interview :
"...we don’t really know anything about the future except that it won’t be like the present. If you want strong abs you do a lot of sit-ups, but if you want to increase the agility of your brain to respond to the unexpected, art is a great form of exercise."

Why Med Schools Are Requiring Art Classes is another facinating article on the role of art in our lives and how art is being leveraged to teach concepts in other fields.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and David Byrne discuss science and art and conclude: "The central question may not be whether artists and scientists can mutually appreciate each other---they generally already do---but whether school boards, politicians, voters, and investors can see things their way."

At GSU we understand that art is important to every person in our community: every student in every major, every faculty and staff member, and the local, state, national, and international communities we serve. 

Prior to his retirement, my predecessor had been executing an ambitious conservation schedule addressing maintenance and repair needs that naturally arise with outdoor artwork exposed to the elements in an Illinois landscape. The work is planned over time and we are following through, raising money for projects to keep the artwork in the best possible condition. It is exciting that our students are joining the effort and, with your help, will make a real difference.

When Marie first contacted me to ask about their "discovery", I was impressed that students were taking advantage of the beautiful landscape in which we reside - over 100 acres of prairie and wooded areas - by exploring and discovering what is here on our campus. And I was impressed that they were curious enough to investigate and discover the back-story to the Etienne-Martin. When the idea of launching a campaign to raise funds for the piece came up, I wasn't sure if they would see it through. But here we are with a video, a campaign, and with your help - a job to be done!

Why so much? Yes, this is a lot of money. The rental of the crane equipment necessary to safely load and transport the piece for the restoration work it needs - and then to rent it again for its return - is a major part of the expense.

The new proposed location for the piece is a patio behind the main building on campus. Some additional cost estimates were added for the landscaping work required to make this a new destination for students and visitors alike. Nathan and Marie wanted the piece to be in a new garden area where it can best be underestood and enjoyed. Really, it will be a new art garden within the sculpture park.

Good News! If we reach the goal amount, a portion of the funds raised will go towards the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park Advisory Board Scholarship Fund - the board of the NMSP has decided to create a scholarship fund to award outstanding GSU students funds to help with their education. In all of our fundraising efforts we will work to create a fund that will support students for years to come.

“We use art to understand who we are, our places in the world, and the meaning of our lives.”
     ~National Art Education Association

Join Marie and Nathan, two first year students at GSU, in their “Home is Where the Art Is” campaign to let this bronze sculpture be seen and enjoyed by all.

Please donate what you can, help spread the word
and share our campaign -  and join the adventure!

From April 17 to May 17, 2018 we will be making our major push - please help!

For more about the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, visit our website .
  • Sarah Krepp 
    • $500 
    • 23 mos
  • Victoria Fuller 
    • $50 
    • 32 mos
  • Lisa Goesling 
    • $20 
    • 33 mos
  • Jeff Stevenson 
    • $100 
    • 38 mos
  • Renee Hayes 
    • $20 
    • 40 mos
See all


Nathan Couwenhoven 
Crown Point, IN
Governors State University Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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