For the last four years, we’ve been working hard to make South Bend a more creative, more beautiful, more inspired city. And we try to help our community access their creative side through loads of one time classes, great for any beginner. Plus, we offer use of our makerspace and tools for anyone who needs a creative place to work on their own projects. It's a pretty cool deal.
Luckily, we’re not alone in our efforts to offer this town some creative options for getting out. We’re just one of several creative local businesses in the area who have been pouring out their blood, sweat, and tears for the artsy folk of South Bend.
And today, we’re sharing five of our favorites. If you haven’t visited these spots, make it your top priority!
1. The Pigeon & the Hen
I’ve lost track of the times that someone comes in or calls asking if we have premade pottery that they can come in and paint. But every time someone asks, we point them to the Pigeon & the Hen.
Located right in the heart of Downtown South Bend, this shop was opened in 2014 by two ceramics students who had only known each other for four months.
With a wide selection of premade ceramic pieces and glazes, this is a great place for anyone looking for a fun activity for the kids, a great group outing, or a date night.
Drop in anytime, or sign up for one of their classes.
2. Gallery 2910
One of the reasons we started MAKE South Bend was to give local artists the resources they needed to take their art from a passion project to a successful business.
So when Julian Alcantar turned in his studio keys and opened his own gallery, we were absolutely ecstatic.
Gallery 2910 features a rotating gallery of local artists, drop in studio sessions, and more painting classes than you can wave a brush at. One of their most popular is their Paint Your Pet class, where you’ll be guided through creating a beautiful homage to your furry friends. But they also have classes geared toward young children, like youth camps and Mommy and Me classes.
Gallery 2910 is also available for private parties and rentals. They’re located on Monroe St just south of Downtown. Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on events!
3. Fire Arts
Back when we were still trying to learn more about business insurance, Fire Arts was well into their second decade of business.
In 2004, three local sculptors were looking for a place that could house a kiln, a foundry, and a gallery space for metalworking and ceramics. They found a building slated for demolition and pooled resources with several other artists to restore it and convert it into the studio they wanted.
Since then, Fire Arts has become an institution in the South Bend arts scene. They host regular workshops in jewelry making, metalworking, stone sculpting and more. But the main event is their rotating gallery exhibitions that showcase the best sculptors, glass workers, potters, and jewelry makers around.
The gallery is open every First Friday if you want to take a quick look around.
4. Martin’s School of Cooking
Here’s something you might not know about me: before I launched MAKE South Bend, there was a hot minute where I wanted to teach cooking classes for a living. And if you’ve taken my sushi class, you might believe it.
I’m the last person who would ever say that cooking isn’t an art. And if we had a commercial kitchen, I would probably offer a much more extensive offering of cooking classes.
But there’s already a great resource for would-be chefs in the area: your local neighborhood Martin’s!
For many of us in the South Bend area, Martin’s is our go-to grocery store. We already go to them for ingredients, so it makes sense that we’d go to them to learn how to use those ingredients.
Their School of Cooking is located in Heritage Square and has a wide variety of cuisines to choose from. They offer classes for kids, couples, and anyone looking to expand their skill set in the kitchen. Hmm...maybe I’ll send my husband there...he only knows how to make omelets (but they’re, like, really good omelets).
You can’t talk about creative businesses in South Bend without mentioning the granddaddy of them all: the South Bend Museum of Art.
The museum opened its doors all the way back in 1947. Since 1987, they have been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, which recognizes the highest level of professional standards in the field.
Besides its respectable permanent collection of local and regional art (including pieces from our friend, the late great Harold Zisla), the South Bend Museum of Art boasts a great series of special exhibitions, including local artist showcases, installations, and works by tattoo artists.
As if that weren’t enough, SBMART is also home to the Dot Shop, where you can buy work from local artists. If you’re inspired to start creating yourself, the museum offers a number of long-term classes in a variety of mediums.
Go Out and MAKE
Even through the city’s ups and downs, South Bend has long had a vibrant arts community. And while we’re doing everything we can to foster that community, we’re in some great company.
Go visit these businesses on Facebook to see what they’re up to, and expand your creative outlets. Just don’t go too far that you forget to come back to us.
While you’re here, why not take another look at our class calendar and start planning your next creative adventure?