Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#158: Colfax Cultural Center

The Colfax Cultural Center is many things. A dance studio. A meeting center. A worship center for several different faiths. An office for several different non-profits.  An art gallery.  Yet, perhaps its most unique function is as an example of just how radically a space can be transformed and utilized in different ways. What is now the Cultural Center was once the Colfax School. In 1983, the South Bend Heritage Foundation began a revitalization and restoration of the old Victorian schoolhouse into the facility it is today which promotes the "spirit and creative life of the neighborhood". For even more information on the history of the building, visit the website here.

I had never been to the Center and stopped in today for the first time. I had passed the imposing building several times whenever driving down Lincolnway West, but was drawn to stop in today because of the particular exhibit on display in the gallery. In a nod to the building's former incarnation as a school, the current exhibit features the work of South Bend students from every Intermediate school in the city.

A small sample of the work on display
The first thing you notice when walking into the Gallery is the abundance of color. Today it seemed to reflect the sunniness of the day in general, but I think the vibrancy of the student artwork would hold up on any day. I was reminded of my own junior-high art projects (and how they would pale in comparison) as I wandered through the rooms. The students, all impressively talented, used a variety of materials to create sculptures, artistic reflections on President Obama, replications and explorations of Van Gogh's sunflowers, cloth-based weavings, and much more. Exhibits rotate pretty frequently, and this one is only on display until April 14th. The visit certainly brightened my day, and I'm sure it would do yours as well if you took the time to stop by.

Location: 914 Lincoln Way West
Hours: 9:00am-7:00pm, every day (I think)

For more information on the South Bend Heritage Foundation (and all of the great work they do), visit the website here.

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