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Notre Dame to open arts center on West Side

Nicole Michels | Tuesday, October 2, 2012

South Bend residents and students alike will have a new venue in which to appreciate the arts when the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture opens in January in a renovated historic building on the West Side of South Bend.

Located in the former Hansel Center in the West Washington National Historic Register District, the new Center will house the Notre Dame’s Community Relations Department and its Crossroads Art Gallery, according to a University press release.

Notre Dame and the South Bend Heritage Foundation partnered to fund  the $2.5 million renovation through local businesses and charitable organizations, the release stated.

Sociology professor Gilberto Cardenas, who will serve as the Center’s executive director, said he hopes it will add variety to South Bend’s cultural life.

“There’s a cultural corridor already on that street that has a number of cultural institutes, so Notre Dame coming into that area will add to its vitality,” Cardenas said.

He said the Center will host cultural and artistic programs for community residents.  

“We will have open receptions for art exhibits, we will have tours from schools. … We will have events on the patio outside, lectures from artists, programming from the student communities from different universities,” he said. “We will reach out to non-profit organizations to work with them and get other corporations or entities to South Bend.”

The Center will also house a fine art printmaking studio formerly based in Arizona, Cardenas said.

“Segura Publishing, a fine art print studio, is going to close down [its] operation and chance the name to Segura Fine Art Print Studio,” Cardenas said. “We’ll purchase [its] equipment and intellectual property, and the new studio won’t be commercial, it will be Notre Dame’s organization.”

Cardenas said students will be incorporated into the Center’s programs on several levels.

“We’re looking forward to having a variety of students work with us to create a space where they can participate as interns working in the gallery, developing marketing plans and developing community education programs,” he said.

Cardenas said established and local artists will be encouraged to frequent the studio as well.

“We hope to advance visual art and give opportunities for artists to participate in the Notre Dame community, and for Notre Dame and other students to work together to create the wonderful print studio and exhibitions,” Cardenas said.  “We’re advancing fine art making and giving it a place in the Notre Dame community.”

In addition to printmaking, the Center will encourage the development of other art forms, Cardenas said.  

“We will also have an art gallery housed there, a visiting artists’ program, a visiting writer’s program and a frame shop that will support the exhibitions that we do,” Cardenas said.  “The art gallery specifically will not just focus on printmaking. It will be a place to exhibit other art as well.”

Notre Dame’s engagement in the arts in the larger South Bend community will have an impact even beyond the city’s borders, Cardenas said.

“We hope we will serve the region and reach out internationally as well, whether because of our Catholic faith or other areas of study, to artists who want to work in these areas of focus,” he said. “We want to show that the arts have importance to the economy, any state, any municipality ⎯ that they also enhance economic viability as a nation.”