The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was established in 1868, and it was as early as 1875 that an art gallery was established in Old University Hall by Regent John Milton Gregory. Contributions were solicited from Champaign-Urbana residents, and Gregory also traveled to Europe at his own expense to obtain 260 plaster casts, 286 reproductions of famous paintings, 388 lithographed historical portraits, and an assortment of other art items. In establishing the University’s first fine art gallery, Gregory also established a long history of art collection.
Over the years, the University has slowly acquired art through donations and gifts, purchasing programs, student and faculty creation, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and state public art, or percent for art programs.
Today, students, faculty, and visitors to the University see art almost everywhere they look – on building facades, street corners, hallways, rotundas, and walkways. The University is home to two renowned museums, the Krannert Museum and the Spurlock Museum, as well as Allerton Park & Retreat Center, which is filled with sculptures acquired by art collector and enthusiast Robert Allerton.
This is a tour of public art found on the UIUC campus, including sculpture, paintings, reliefs, and other mediums.
Scheinman, Muriel. (1981). Art collecting at the University of Illinois. Urbana, Illinois: the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.