Press Releases

What’s Out There Weekend – June 11-12 – Free Two-Day Celebration of Chicago’s Parks, Gardens & Public Spaces

Free Tours of Twenty-Five Free, Publicly Accessible Sites throughout Chicago –
Specifically Designed Children’s Programming at Select Sites –
June 9 Launch Event at Downtown Room & Board Store

Washington, DC (May 5, 2011) – On June 11 - 12 in Chicago, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), in collaboration with Chicago Park District, will host What’s Out There Weekend Chicago, providing residents and visitors an opportunity to discover and explore twenty-five free, publicly accessible sites in the Windy City. Many are places people pass daily, but do we know their background stories? Expert guides will provide free tours of Chicago parks and open spaces designed by some of America’s greatest landscape architects including Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., Jens Jensen, Alfred Caldwell, Dan Kiley, H. W. S. Cleveland, O.C. Simonds, Rose Standish Nichols, and others. TCLF’s goal is to make these sites and their stories visible, just like Chicago’s great buildings. Specially designed family’s programming will be held at several locations, including: the Osaka Garden (Jackson Park); Sherman Park; Exelon (Chase) Plaza; and Columbus Park. Tours will be scheduled to allow visitors to attend as many sites as possible and free trolley service will be available between most of the urban parks. A companion What’s Out There Weekend web site ( features downloadable information about all the locations and a schedule of tours.

The weekend is an extension of the What’s Out There database of America’s designed landscapes. The free, online, searchable, Wiki-format, and vetted database hosts illustrated entries about more than 1,000 parks, gardens and open spaces throughout the US.

What’s Out There Weekend Sites
Art Institute of Chicago
Columbus Park
Daley Plaza
Stephen Douglas Monument Park
Douglas Park
Exelon (Chase) Plaza
Chicago Federal Center Plaza
Fort Sheridan
Fuller Park
Garfield Park Conservatory
Grant Park
House of the Four Winds
Humboldt Park
IIT Campus
Jackson Park
Lake Forest Market Square
Lake Forest Cemetery
Lake Point Tower Roof Garden
Lincoln Park
Logan Square and Boulevard
Midway Plaisance
Millennium Park
Milton Lee Olive Park
Sherman Park
Washington Park
Wicker Park

What’s Out There Weekend is made possible by the significant partnership of the Chicago Park District. The event is also enabled by the generous support of Bartlett Tree Experts, the Parkways Foundation, the Illinois Chapter of the ASLA and the Richard H. Driehaus. Additional support comes from Christy Webber Landscapes, and Room & Board.

Launch Event
A launch party for the weekend will take place on Thursday, June 9, from 5:30 to 7:30, at the Room & Board store at 55 East Ohio Street in downtown Chicago. A drawing will be held for a $250 Room & Board gift certificate.

What’s Out There Database
What’s Out There Weekend dovetails with the Web-based What’s Out There database (WOT), launched in October 2009, the most comprehensive, searchable database of the Nation’s designed landscapes. The database spans more than two centuries of American landscape design and is searchable by landscape name, locale, designer, type, and style. It’s profusely illustrated and includes a glossary of 27 types, 49 sub-types, and 14 styles, over one thousand designer profiles and site entries, descriptions of some of our country’s most important cultural landscapes, and relevant links. The goal of the WOT database is to raise public awareness of the rich diversity and interconnectedness of our shared designed landscape heritage.

What is a cultural landscape?
A cultural landscape is a geographic area that includes cultural and natural resources associated with an historic event, activity, person, or group of people. Cultural landscapes can range from thousands of acres of parkland to small homesteads. There is a broad range of landscape types, including waterfronts, campuses, cemeteries, commemorative landscapes, and scenic highways. They exist in direct relationship to their ecological contexts. They are works of art, narratives of cultures, and expressions of regional identity.

Presenting Sponsors’ Remarks
"Historic landscapes add so much to the fabric of life in our cities and towns," said Scott Jamieson, vice president of Bartlett Tree Experts. "As a company that has been helping to preserve the integrity of these landscapes for more than a hundred years, Bartlett is pleased to be able to help build awareness of these special places in our midst."

“The Chicago Park District is thrilled to be part of What’s Out There Weekend Chicago,” said Tim Mitchell, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “This event is a great way to reveal some the hidden treasures and the historical significance of these locations residing in Chicago parks.”

“What’s Out There Weekend Chicago is a free and easy way to experience the city’s incredible wealth of landscape architecture and to better understand who created these remarkable parks and public spaces,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. “The Chicago parks are an unrivaled collection of designed landscapes, which can be seen on the What’s Out There section of TCLF’s Web site.”

About the Chicago Park District
The Chicago Park District strives to enhance the quality of life in Chicago by becoming the leading provider of recreation and leisure opportunities, to provide safe, inviting and beautifully maintained parks and facilities, and to create a customer-focused and responsive park system. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 7,600 acres of parkland, 570 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 10 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY).

About the Parkways Foundation
Parkways Foundation ( invests in Chicago’s parks to enrich communities through historic preservation, environmental initiatives, capital projects and youth/family programs. Parkways is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to working with the Chicago Park District in a true public/private partnership.

About the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation (, founded in 1983 and as a family foundation in 1992, benefits individuals and communities primarily by supporting the preservation and enhancement of the built and natural environments through historic preservation, encouragement of quality architectural and landscape design, and conserving open space. The Foundation also supports the performing and visual arts and makes grants to organizations that provide opportunities for working families who remain poor.

About Bartlett Tree Experts
For over a century, Bartlett Tree Experts ( has developed and implemented sustainable practices that help landscapes thrive. Founded in 1907, Bartlett is a research-driven, family-owned and operated tree care company with offices in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. Bartlett's services and products – all developed through our own tree research laboratory and experimental grounds - improve the preservation, management planning and care for trees. Bartlett is the only private company in the National Plant Diagnostic Network, a consortium of government agencies and universities providing rapid diagnosis of plant pests and diseases.

About Room & Board
Room & Board is a Minneapolis-based furniture retailer offering unique home furnishings that combine classic, simple designs and exceptional quality using natural materials. Ninety percent of its furniture is manufactured in America. Room & Board is proud of its commitment to supporting American manufacturers and small, family-owned businesses. Room & Board professionals have helped many consumers furnish their homes, translating their passion for well-designed home furnishings into outstanding value for customers. Room & Board opened its eleventh store at 1840 14th Street, NW in Washington, D.C. in June, 2010 in the former Taylor Motors Building, which they restored to its original 1919 luster. With stores in Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Orange County, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, Room & Board’s unique collection of home furnishings is also available nationally through

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The 12-year old Cultural Landscape Foundation ( provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. TCLF makes a special effort to heighten the awareness of those who impact cultural landscapes, assist groups and organizations working to increase the appreciation and recognition of cultural landscapes, and develop educational tools for young people to better connect them to their cultural landscape environs.

# # #