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Curatorial Conversation: theNate Director and Curator Jeff Stevenson and artist Bernard Williams

March 30, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


21c Museum Hotel Chicago is honored to collaborate with theNate on this month’s Curator Conversation. Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (theNate) and the Visual Arts Gallery at Governors State University, Jeff Stevenson will be in conversation with artist Bernard Williams. theNate is receiving a new sculpture by the artists and together Jeff and Bernard will discuss the integration of Art and Landscape within the 100-acre expanse of theNate.

The Illinois Capital Development Board, Art in Architecture, Percent for Art Program, identified funds generated from the renovation of the F Wing / Science Area at Governors State University (GSU).  The best use of these funds was to commission a new sculpture for theNate. 27 artists submitted applications and three finalists were identified. Bernard Williams’ design was chosen because of its response to the site and the collection, and how it will serve as an observation deck for visitors to take in the views of the 12-acre native prairie. The direct connection between the sculpture, the prairie conservation project, and the science program at GSU demonstrates the beauty of Art in Education.


More about Jeff Stevenson
Since 2017, Jeff Stevenson has served as the Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (theNate) and the Visual Arts Gallery at Governors State University. In that time, for theNate, Stevenson has supervised over a dozen conservation projects, 6 visiting exhibitions in the sculpture park (including Chakaia Booker, Neil Goodman, Indira Johnson, Denise Milan), and 2 new acquisitions (Abbott Pattison, Terrence Karpowicz). For the gallery spaces on campus, Stevenson has coordinated the installation of over a dozen exhibitions annually.

Jeff Stevenson earned a BS degree in Medical Illustration from The Ohio State University and an MFA in Painting from Ohio University. He has exhibited his artwork in group and solo shows and has received numerous awards.

Stevenson has taught Studio Art classes, Art History, Creativity, and other subjects through Governors State University, Prairie State College, South Suburban College, Columbia College, The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, and Ohio University.

He has served on boards and committees with Southland Arts, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, and the Flossmoor Village Art Commission, in his hometown, Flossmoor, Illinois.

More about Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams is an established artist based in Chicago, IL and working in painting, sculpture, installation, and public art. He holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MFA from Northwestern University. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the U.S. and has been represented by the N’Namdi Gallery in Detroit, the Thomas McCormick Gallery in Chicago, and the Ethan Cohen Gallery in New York.  Williams has received recognition both regionally and nationally, including grants from the Illinois Arts Council, Artadia in New York in 2001, The Meier Foundation in Chicago in 2013, and The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation in New York in 2015. He has completed artist residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA., and the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York in 2013.

The artist began painting outdoor murals in the early 1990’s with the Chicago Public Art Group. While continuing with CPAG, Williams has added outdoor sculpture to his practice. In recent years he has created several outdoor steel sculptures in Chicago and completed the Black Tractor Project at the Arts Club of Chicago 2019. In November 2020-May 2021 he debuted a large sculptural work in the “Long Dream” group exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. In 2022 the artist installed a large outdoor steel sculpture commission celebrating the African American suffragette, Naomi Anderson, in Michigan City, Indiana. In 2023, the artist will install steel sculptures at theNate (Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park), at Governors State University in University Park, IL, and in Dallas, Texas.


March 30, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Juli Lowe


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