The Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, 1709 Chapel Drive, Valparaiso. 219.464.5365. valpo.edu/artmuseum. Located in the interdisciplinary VU Center for the Arts, this gem of a museum holds a significant collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art—including works by Frederic Edwin Church and Georgia O’Keeffe—as well as art of world religions and Midwest regional art. It is home to the largest known exhibit of Hudson River School painter Junius R. Sloan, and hosted a retrospective exhibit of paintings by pioneer Indiana Dunes painter Frank V. Dudley in 2006.
The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Campus. 574.631.5466. sniteartmuseum.nd.edu. Widely considered one of the top university art museums in the U.S., the Snite Museum holds more than 21,000 works representing a wide range of world art history periods. Among the exceptional pieces are a collection of Rembrandt etchings and an exhibit of Northern Native American Art. Educational community outreach is a focus of this university museum, and is accomplished through workshops, tours and a docent program.
The South Bend Regional Museum of Art, 120 S St. Joseph St, South Bend. 574.235.9102. southbendart.org. This 3,000-square-foot gallery focuses mainly on the works of regional artists from Indiana and the Midwest from 1800 to the present. Included in this group are the early Indiana Impressionist painters, also known as the Hoosier School. Display and creation of art are linked through classes and workshops, where both children and adults can learn techniques in all media: drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, jewelry, photography and textiles.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids. 616.831.1000. gramonline.org. The Grand Rapids Art Museum just unveiled its new building in the fall of 2007, and is the first art museum in the world to be certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Its glass walls, natural light, and reflecting pool further illustrate the fusion between the indoors and outdoors. With its impressive permanent collection as well as changing exhibitions, this 125,000-square-foot facility is truly a gem in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.
The Holland Museum, 31 W 10th St, Holland. 616.392.9084. hollandmuseum.org. The Holland Museum houses permanent exhibitions that illustrate the community’s transformation from an early settlement to a thriving city. Four new galleries containing 17th- through 19th-century Dutch paintings and decorative arts recently opened in 2007. Within a few blocks, visitors will also find the Cappon House Museum and the Settlers House Museum, magnificently preserved and restored environments of a common worker’s family and Holland’s first mayor.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S Park St, Kalamazoo. 269.349.7775. kiarts.org. Founded in 1924, this museum is dedicated to encouraging the appreciation and creation of art through its exhibits, educational programs and the Kirk Newman Art School. In its ten galleries, the KIA shows temporary exhibitions and art from its permanent collection, which consists of nearly 4,000 works that emphasize 20th-century American art. Educational opportunities include the weekly ARTbreak lecture, Sunday Funday for families, Art & All That Jazz (featuring live music), Senior Day and the ARTworks Interactive Gallery for kids.
The Krasl Art Center, 707 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph. 269.983.0271. krasl.org. The museum’s permanent collection is devoted entirely to the medium of sculpture, with an eclectic mix of riveting contemporary pieces displayed in an outdoor sculpture exhibit. Accordingly, the Krasl Art Center hosts the Biennial Sculpture Invitational exhibition, attended by talented sculptors worldwide. The museum’s four galleries also display traditional fine arts from local artists and traveling exhibits, and the Gallery Shop provides a supportive outlet for contributing artists to sell their unique works of all media.
Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W Webster Ave, Muskegon. 231.720.2570. muskegonartmuseum.org. Paintings by recognized national artists such as Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper are the gems of this museum’s permanent collection, which also hosts a riveting variety of exhibitions year-round. Educational opportunities such as lectures, brown bag lunch discussions, workshops and poetry slams are provided, and an on-site museum store allows visitors to take a piece of their cultural experience home with them.
South Haven Center for the Arts, 600 Phoenix St, South Haven. 269.637.1041. southhavenarts.org. Conveniently located in the heart of South Haven’s bustling downtown, this art center—housed in a 1905 building reflecting Neoclassical Revival architecture—promotes community appreciation for the arts in varied and numerous ways. In addition to housing exhibitions of all media and styles, the center hosts talks, workshops, musical concerts, classes for all ages, art fairs, auctions and benefits.
Architecture Tours, Chicago Architecture Foundation, various sites and times, downtown Chicago. 312.922.3432. architecture.org. Intimate views of one of the most architecturally recognized cities in the world can be obtained when tourists and locals alike embark on one of the many narrated tours offered by this nonprofit organization. All types of architecture are embraced, as world-famous skyscrapers are glimpsed by river boat; bungalows, churches and Frank Lloyd Wright homes are viewed by bus or Segway; and significant downtown landmark buildings are observed the old-fashioned way: on foot.
The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago. 312.443.3626. artic.edu. Founded in 1879, this museum and school now houses a world-renowned collection representing more than 5,000 years of global artistic expression, from Ancient Greek and Egyptian sculptures to contemporary installation art. Inside the landmark building, which is flanked by two bronze lions, art lovers of all ages can view the familiar works of Picasso, the Dutch Masters and the Impressionists—or the unexpected masterpieces of photography, arms and armor, miniatures, textiles and architecture.
The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 312.922.9410. fieldmuseum.org. This internationally recognized museum of natural history has a collection of more than 20 million biological and geological specimens and cultural objects, assembled to illustrate the past, present and future of the earth, its plants, animals, people and their cultures. In addition to its world-class natural history library, the museum is also home to Sue, the world’s largest T. rex fossil.
Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell Avenue, Chicago. 773.324.5520. hydeparkart.org. The oldest alternative contemporary art venue in Chicago, the center has been supporting the visual arts in South Side communities as well as the greater Chicago metropolitan area since 1939. The gallery houses challenging, nontraditional offerings in all forms of media, primarily displaying exhibits by Chicago-area artists. Community outreach is a priority, propelling programs such as Visual Learners for schoolchildren, Artists Mentoring Teens, and General Community Outreach.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago. 312.280.2660. mcachicago.org. Located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits more than 6,000 objects that illustrate trends in art from 1945 to the present. All forms of media are represented, from the traditional paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photography, to the more challenging video, film, installations and performances. The MCA Store on site is not to be missed, with its curious collection of books, jewelry, toys, stationery and home/kitchen accents.
River East Art Center, 435 E Illinois St, Chicago. 312.321.1001. rivereastartcenter.com. This new 100,000-square-foot facility has been transformed into a multidisciplinary arts venue, housing fine-art galleries, studios for working artists, and art-related retail destinations. Visitors to the center are encouraged in their appreciation of all art forms through exposure to a variety of exhibitions, musical and dance performances, and poetry readings.