What’s your favorite part of walking into an art museum? Is it the pristine white walls filled with perfectly measured works of art? The hushed ambiance interrupted only by the clip clop of heels on hard wood? The stoic look of security guards protecting priceless treasures? I’m happy to say that my first visit to the Smart Museum of Art was exactly the opposite!
Upon my arrival, I was most struck by the amount of action going on. The museum’s cafe and coffee shop, located in the entrance area, was bustling with activity. The Smart, which is located in Hyde Park and part of the University of Chicago, contains mostly Asian, European, Modern, and Contemporary Art. A class convened and then disappeared into the study center, students sipped drinks while deep in conversation, and professors met with other faculty members.
I’m a sucker for engagement – and boy, was my attention caught! Upon further exploration in the galleries and on their website, it’s safe to say that the Smart values education and innovative programming. Check out their list of programs, all of which are free to the public. Thursday nights the museum is open late, and once a week students can participate in participatory art experiences. The museum is even open late during finals to accommodate cram sessions for students (pizza and coffee included!) The museum’s Student Advisory Committee helps to plan these events and develop continued connections between the U-Chicago community and the museum. Bravo!