Chicago Women's Park and Gardens

  • 1801 S. Indiana Ave.   Chicago, Illinois 60616 [View Map]
  • Fieldhouse Hours: , , , ,
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Supervisor: Talonna Sharp
  • Park Phone: (312) 328-0821
Holiday Hours (Mon. Dec.4-Sat.,Jan. 6): -

Mondays-Fridays: 9am-6pm
Sat.:8:30am-5pm
Sun: CLOSED

We will have modified hours on the following dates:
Tue., Dec. 26: CLOSED
Sat., Dec. 30 : 9am-2pm
Tues., Jan. 2: 8:30am-5pm

Located in the Near South Side Community, locally known as the South Loop, Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens totals 2.51 acres and formerly housed the Vietnam Veterans Museum. Opened to the public in 2000, Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens honors the contributions women have made to the city throughout its history and provides a quiet respite for the community.
 
The park's recreation building is a B-3 field house facility and features an indoor children’s playground, a cafe and meeting room facilities. Visitors also enjoy the recently renovated second and third floor space, which features three new fitness studios, a club room, a staff office and Kids Science Labs. The Kids Science Labs (KSL) offer hands-on science classes, birthday parties, summer camps and field trips for kids ages 2-12. 
 

Park-goers visit Chicago Women's Park and Gardens to programs and fitness opportunities, including Mom, Pop and Tot classes, bridge tournaments and yoga. In the summer, youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp. Specialty camps are also offered, including pre-school activities. In addition to programs, Chicago Women’s Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, including movies, concerts and other Night Out in the Parks events.

Outside, the park offers a passive garden, with many spaces available for rent for children’s birthday parties, meetings and other special events. Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens is located within the Prairie Avenue Historic District and nestled between two house museums— the Widow Clarke House and the Glessner House. 

The Clarke House Museum, which sits adjacent to the gardens, was built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke. The structure is Chicago’s oldest house. Over the years, the house survived fires, belonged to a church and was moved twice. During the second move, the house was stuck in the air for two weeks!

History

Landscape architect Mimi McKay and architect Tannys Langdon designed Chicago Women’s Park and Garden, which opened to the public in 2000. The small scale of the park and its lushly planted borders enhance the space’s contemplative feeling.

The centerpiece of the park's design is the Botanical Gardens Fountain with a copper-coated cast iron basin created by Robinson Iron of Alexander City, Alabama. A winding path along the perimeter of the site serves as a metaphor of a woman as she moves in and out of traditional boundaries and roles through the course of her life.

In 2011, the Chicago Park District installed a monument in the park in homage to Jane Addams (1860 – 1935), Chicago’s famous social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Internationally renowned artist Louise Bourgeios (1911 – 2010) created the artwork, which was first dedicated on the city’s lakefront in 1996. The sculpture was commissioned by the B.F. Ferguson Fund of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Representatives of the Art Institute selected Bourgeios because they knew that the surrealist artist would portray Jane Addams through a symbolically powerful artwork rather than a depictive figurative sculpture. Bourgeios produced a series of carved granite hands that sit on rough-hewn granite bases. The monument, which is also known as “Helping Hands,” recognizes the humanity of Addams’ efforts, as well as the large number of people she helped.

Speaking about her work in a 2007 PBS Documentary film, “From Art in the 21st Century,” Louise Bourgeois said, “A work of art does not have to be explained… If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn't touch you, I have failed.”

"Helping Hands" entails six rough hewn stone bases which each support a hand or series of carved black granite hands representing a broad range of people of different ages and backgrounds. The current installation reflects the artist’s original arrangement of the sculptures and their positions.

Describing the significance of the artist and her approach to this project, Michael Darling, a Chief Curator at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art explains, “Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily because she has addressed central aspects of the human condition in her work. Channeling the issues raised during her tumultuous childhood, she has focused her work on ideas about inter-personal communication, nurturing, alienation, belonging, motherhood, sensuality, birth and death, among many other themes. This sculpture is an excellent example of how she suggests these concepts in a truly universal form—through the motif of the human hand.”

Parking/Directions

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Famous Chicago Women Exhibit

Join us to celebrate the achievements of legendary Chicago women with the new exhibit at Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens.

Located in the park’s atrium, this new photography exhibit highlights the women who shaped our city. Developed by co-curators Julia Bachrach, retired Chicago Park District historian, and Leslie Recht, who has worked on the development of Chicago Women’s Park for many years, the exhibit weaves history and imagery together to tell the story of these pioneering figures.

The exhibit is supported and made possible by Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, with funding provided by Crescent Heights, and through the work of the Park Advisory Council and Glessner House.

View the exhibit’s accompanying brochure, which includes biographies of 65 groundbreaking Chicago women. 

Helping Hands

Helping Hands (1)

Location Notes: Just north of Widow Clarke House

Descriptors: Outdoor, Sculpture

Featured in Statue Stories Chicago

Notice Valid From: 8/6/2015 - 8/31/2018

Chicago Women's Park and Garden Community Garden

Chicago Women's Park and Garden Community Garden

Location Notes: 1801 S. Indiana

Notes: Community Garden

Chicago Women's Park & Gardens - Spoke & Byrd

Chicago Women's Park & Gardens - Spoke & Byrd

Location: 1801 S. Indiana Ave.

Hours: ,

Phone: (312) 842-4210

Notes:

http://www.spokeandbird.com

Descriptors: Food & Beverage

Chicago Women's Park and Gardens

Chicago Women's Park and Gardens

Location Notes: 1801 S. Indiana Ave.

Hours: , , , ,

Chicago Women's Park & Gardens Fitness Studio

Chicago Women's Park & Gardens Fitness Studio

Location Notes: 1801 S. Indiana Ave.

Notes: All three fitness studios on the second floor featured mirrored walls.

Chicago Women's Indoor Playground

Chicago Women's Indoor Playground

Hours: , , , , ,

Descriptors: Indoor

Fall Programs

Most fall programs start the week of September 11 and run through the week of December 4.  Click on the program name links below to register now.  Registration is on-going while spots are available. 


Winter Programs

Most winter programs start the week of January 8, 2018  and run through the week of March 12, 2018.  View programs online & create your wish list beginning Monday, November 20.  Registration dates for our park are:

  • Online registration begins on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 9:00am.
  • In-person registration begins on Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Click on the program name links below for program descriptions, availability information and to register online now (if available).

Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Kiddie College - Fall Winter Spr at Chgo Women's 206450Activity_PackageEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 5Coed2017/09/18 13:30From September 18, 2017 to June 8, 2018$717.00
Kiddie College - Fall Winter Spr at Chgo Women's 206451Activity_PackageEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 4 but less than 6Coed2017/09/18 16:00From September 18, 2017 to June 8, 2018$1,083
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Acting at Chicago Women's 211244InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2018/01/11 22:00From January 11, 2018 to March 15, 2018
Each Thursday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$39.00
American Sign Language at Chgo Women's 227232InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/09 16:15From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 10:15am to 11am
$23.00
Archery at Chicago Women's 227233InstructionSports - ArcheryAt least 8 but less than 13Coed2018/01/11 23:00From January 11, 2018 to March 15, 2018
Each Thursday from 5pm to 6pm
$41.00
Ballet - Beginner at Chicago Women's 211549InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/10 21:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Ballet - Beginner at Chicago Women's 211548InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/12 21:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Ballet - Beginner at Chicago Women's 211550InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/13 16:30From January 13, 2018 to March 17, 2018
Each Saturday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
Ballet - Intermediate at Chicago Women's 211551InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 12Coed2018/01/08 22:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$56.00
Ballet - Intermediate at Chicago Women's 211552InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 10Coed2018/01/13 17:30From January 13, 2018 to March 17, 2018
Each Saturday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$56.00
Bitty Basketball at Chicago Women's 211914InstructionSports - BasketballAt least 4 but less than 8Coed2018/01/08 22:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$56.00
Bitty Basketball at Chicago Women's 211915InstructionSports - BasketballAt least 4 but less than 8Coed2018/01/12 22:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$56.00
Boot Camp at Chicago Women's 227238InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 20:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$36.00
Boot Camp at Chicago Women's 227237InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/12 20:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$36.00
Bridge Club at Chicago Women's 212044OpenSpecial Interest - Clubs18 and upCoed2018/01/05 19:00From January 5, 2018 to March 30, 2018
Each Friday from 1pm to 3pm
$15.00
Cardio Beats at Chicago Women's 227247InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 23:30From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
$39.00
Cardio Beats at Chicago Women's 227248InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/10 23:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
$39.00
Children's Theater at Chicago Women's 212139InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 4 but less than 7Coed2018/01/09 20:00From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Children's Theater at Chicago Women's 212138InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/18 20:00From January 18, 2018 to March 15, 2018
Each Thursday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Dance - Hip Hop at Chicago Women's 212227InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 6 but less than 12Coed2018/01/10 22:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$56.00
Dance - Hip Hop at Chicago Women's 212228InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 5 but less than 8Coed2018/01/13 18:30From January 13, 2018 to March 17, 2018
Each Saturday from 12:30pm to 1:15pm
$56.00
Dance - Jazz at Chicago Women's 212256InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 21:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Dino Diggers at Chicago Women's 212296InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/12 16:30From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
FFW Preview - Boot Camp at Chicago Women's 228753InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 20:00January 8, 2018
Monday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$0
FFW Preview - Boot Camp at Chicago Women's 228752InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/12 20:00January 12, 2018
Friday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$0
FFW Preview - Cardio Beats at Chicago Women's 228773InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 23:30January 8, 2018
Monday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
$0
FFW Preview - Cardio Beats at Chicago Women's 228774InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/10 23:30January 10, 2018
Wednesday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm
$0
FFW Preview - Step Aerobics at Chicago Women's 228625InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upCoed2018/01/12 17:30January 12, 2018
Friday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$0
FFW Preview - Tabata at Chicago Women's 228763InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 17:30January 8, 2018
Monday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$0
Floor Hockey at Chicago Women's 227246InstructionSports - Floor HockeyAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 21:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Floor Hockey at Chicago Women's 227245InstructionSports - Floor HockeyAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/12 21:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Junior Detectives at Chicago Women's 227250InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/09 21:15From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 3:15pm to 4pm
$56.00
Kiddie College - Winter at Chgo Women's 212769InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 5Coed2018/01/08 14:30From January 8, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Monday from 8:30am to 10:30am
Each Wednesday from 8:30am to 10:30am
Each Friday from 8:30am to 10:30am
$239.00
Kiddie College - Winter at Chgo Women's 212770InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 4 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 17:00From January 8, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Monday from 11am to 2pm
Each Wednesday from 11am to 2pm
Each Friday from 11am to 2pm
$361.00
Little Artists at Chicago Women's 213024InstructionCulture and Arts - Decorative ArtsAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/10 16:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
Little Artists at Chicago Women's 227236InstructionCulture and Arts - Decorative ArtsAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/10 20:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Mighty Munchkins at Chicago Women's 213094InstructionWellness - FitnessAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/10 16:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
Mighty Munchkins at Chicago Women's 213093InstructionWellness - FitnessAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/10 20:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Mommy and Me Ballet at Chicago Women's 213137InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/08 17:30From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$56.00
Mommy and Me Ballet at Chicago Women's 213136InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/10 15:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 9:30am to 10:15am
$56.00
Mommy and Me Ballet at Chicago Women's 213138InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/10 17:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$56.00
Mommy and Me Ballet at Chicago Women's 213135InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/12 15:30From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 9:30am to 10:15am
$56.00
Mommy and Me Ballet at Chicago Women's 213139InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 1 but less than 3Coed2018/01/13 15:00From January 13, 2018 to March 17, 2018
Each Saturday from 9am to 9:45am
$56.00
Moms, Pops & Tots Interaction at Chicago Women's 213151InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 1 but less than 4Coed2018/01/09 16:30From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 10:30am to 11:30am
$46.00
Moms, Pops & Tots Interaction at Chicago Women's 213153InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 1 but less than 4Coed2018/01/09 23:00From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 5pm to 6pm
$46.00
Moms, Pops & Tots Interaction at Chicago Women's 213152InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 1 but less than 4Coed2018/01/11 16:30From January 11, 2018 to March 15, 2018
Each Thursday from 10:30am to 11:30am
$46.00
Nature Fun at Chicago Women's 213238InstructionOutdoor & Environment - EducationAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 16:30From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
Nature Fun at Chicago Women's 213239InstructionOutdoor & Environment - EducationAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 20:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Play School at Chicago Women's 213453InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 2 but less than 4Coed2018/01/08 15:00From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 9am to 9:45am
$56.00
Play School at Chicago Women's 213452InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 2 but less than 4Coed2018/01/10 21:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Play School at Chicago Women's 213456InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 2 but less than 4Coed2018/01/12 15:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 9am to 9:45am
$56.00
Sport Art & Dart at Chicago Women's 227251InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/08 16:30From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
Step Aerobics at Chicago Women's 227249InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upCoed2018/01/12 17:30From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$35.00
Storybook Adventures at Chicago Women's 227244InstructionCulture and Arts - TheaterAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/11 21:00From January 11, 2018 to March 15, 2018
Each Thursday from 3pm to 3:45pm
$56.00
Stroller Fitness Partnership at Chicago Women's 227234PartnershipGroupWellness - Fitness18 and upFemale2018/01/09 17:00From January 9, 2018 to March 29, 2018
Each Tuesday from 11am to Noon
Each Thursday from 11am to Noon
$237.00
Stroller Fitness Partnership at Chicago Women's 227235PartnershipGroupWellness - Fitness18 and upFemale2018/01/13 15:00From January 13, 2018 to March 31, 2018
Each Saturday from 9am to 10am
$237.00
Tabata at Chicago Women's 227239InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2018/01/08 17:30From January 8, 2018 to March 12, 2018
Each Monday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$36.00
Table Tennis at Chicago Women's 227252InstructionSports - Table TennisAt least 8 but less than 12Coed2018/01/10 23:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm
$39.00
Tot Spot at Chicago Women's 214411OpenEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 6m but less than 3Coed2018/01/10 16:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 10am to 11:30am
$34.00
Where the Wild Things Roam at Chicago Women's 227242InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 2 but less than 4Coed2018/01/09 14:30From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 8:30am to 10:30am
Each Thursday from 8:30am to 10:30am
$160.00
Where the Wild Things Roam at Chicago Women's 227243InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/09 17:00From January 9, 2018 to March 13, 2018
Each Tuesday from 11am to 2pm
Each Thursday from 11am to 2pm
$240.00
Yoga at Chicago Women's 227240InstructionWellness - Yoga60 and upCoed2018/01/10 17:30From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$0
Yoga at Chicago Women's 227241InstructionWellness - Yoga60 and upCoed2018/01/12 17:30From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 11:30am to 12:15pm
$0
You Build It at Chicago Women's 214690InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/12 16:30From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 10:30am to 11:15am
$56.00
You Build It at Chicago Women's 214689InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 3 but less than 6Coed2018/01/12 20:00From January 12, 2018 to March 16, 2018
Each Friday from 2pm to 2:45pm
$56.00
Young Scientist at Chicago Women's 214693InstructionSpecial Interest - Educational/Self-HelpAt least 4 but less than 8Coed2018/01/10 22:00From January 10, 2018 to March 14, 2018
Each Wednesday from 4pm to 4:45pm
$56.00
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Kiddie College - Spring at Chgo Women's 218649InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 5Coed2018/04/02 13:30From April 2, 2018 to June 8, 2018
Each Monday from 8:30am to 10:30am
Each Wednesday from 8:30am to 10:30am
Each Friday from 8:30am to 10:30am
$239.00
Kiddie College - Spring at Chgo Women's 218648InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 4 but less than 6Coed2018/04/02 16:00From April 2, 2018 to June 8, 2018
Each Monday from 11am to 2pm
Each Wednesday from 11am to 2pm
Each Friday from 11am to 2pm
$361.00

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Reviews

Description

Located in the Near South Side Community, locally known as the South Loop, Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens totals 2.51 acres and formerly housed the Vietnam Veterans Museum. Opened to the public in 2000, Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens honors the contributions women have made to the city throughout its history and provides a quiet respite for the community.
 
The park's recreation building is a B-3 field house facility and features an indoor children’s playground, a cafe and meeting room facilities. Visitors also enjoy the recently renovated second and third floor space, which features three new fitness studios, a club room, a staff office and Kids Science Labs. The Kids Science Labs (KSL) offer hands-on science classes, birthday parties, summer camps and field trips for kids ages 2-12. 
 

Park-goers visit Chicago Women's Park and Gardens to programs and fitness opportunities, including Mom, Pop and Tot classes, bridge tournaments and yoga. In the summer, youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp. Specialty camps are also offered, including pre-school activities. In addition to programs, Chicago Women’s Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, including movies, concerts and other Night Out in the Parks events.

Outside, the park offers a passive garden, with many spaces available for rent for children’s birthday parties, meetings and other special events. Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens is located within the Prairie Avenue Historic District and nestled between two house museums— the Widow Clarke House and the Glessner House. 

The Clarke House Museum, which sits adjacent to the gardens, was built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke. The structure is Chicago’s oldest house. Over the years, the house survived fires, belonged to a church and was moved twice. During the second move, the house was stuck in the air for two weeks!

Landscape architect Mimi McKay and architect Tannys Langdon designed Chicago Women’s Park and Garden, which opened to the public in 2000. The small scale of the park and its lushly planted borders enhance the space’s contemplative feeling.

The centerpiece of the park's design is the Botanical Gardens Fountain with a copper-coated cast iron basin created by Robinson Iron of Alexander City, Alabama. A winding path along the perimeter of the site serves as a metaphor of a woman as she moves in and out of traditional boundaries and roles through the course of her life.

In 2011, the Chicago Park District installed a monument in the park in homage to Jane Addams (1860 – 1935), Chicago’s famous social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Internationally renowned artist Louise Bourgeios (1911 – 2010) created the artwork, which was first dedicated on the city’s lakefront in 1996. The sculpture was commissioned by the B.F. Ferguson Fund of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Representatives of the Art Institute selected Bourgeios because they knew that the surrealist artist would portray Jane Addams through a symbolically powerful artwork rather than a depictive figurative sculpture. Bourgeios produced a series of carved granite hands that sit on rough-hewn granite bases. The monument, which is also known as “Helping Hands,” recognizes the humanity of Addams’ efforts, as well as the large number of people she helped.

Speaking about her work in a 2007 PBS Documentary film, “From Art in the 21st Century,” Louise Bourgeois said, “A work of art does not have to be explained… If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn't touch you, I have failed.”

"Helping Hands" entails six rough hewn stone bases which each support a hand or series of carved black granite hands representing a broad range of people of different ages and backgrounds. The current installation reflects the artist’s original arrangement of the sculptures and their positions.

Describing the significance of the artist and her approach to this project, Michael Darling, a Chief Curator at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art explains, “Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, primarily because she has addressed central aspects of the human condition in her work. Channeling the issues raised during her tumultuous childhood, she has focused her work on ideas about inter-personal communication, nurturing, alienation, belonging, motherhood, sensuality, birth and death, among many other themes. This sculpture is an excellent example of how she suggests these concepts in a truly universal form—through the motif of the human hand.”

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Join us to celebrate the achievements of legendary Chicago women with the new exhibit at Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens.

Located in the park’s atrium, this new photography exhibit highlights the women who shaped our city. Developed by co-curators Julia Bachrach, retired Chicago Park District historian, and Leslie Recht, who has worked on the development of Chicago Women’s Park for many years, the exhibit weaves history and imagery together to tell the story of these pioneering figures.

The exhibit is supported and made possible by Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, with funding provided by Crescent Heights, and through the work of the Park Advisory Council and Glessner House.

View the exhibit’s accompanying brochure, which includes biographies of 65 groundbreaking Chicago women.