Rehearsal photo: When We Were There

Move and Be Moved: An Invitation by Hannah Fischer

Dear Beautiful South Bend, 

This is an invitation to move and be moved. 

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​Photo by BlueKrishna Photography, When We Were There
When We Were There is a dance concert that explores memory, specifically the ways in which we re-experience and embody memories. We wonder and discuss how missed connections and relationships shift through time and memory. You are invited to choose your own adventure in an unlikely manner: through modern dance, theater, live sound and video projection. No two people will see the same stories, relationships, or meaning throughout this concert. 
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My hope as director is that each audience member will see something that evokes a reaction or memory. When We Where There is not a story, but has relatable narrative elements; it is not literal, but neither is it completely abstract. I invite you to ask yourself about your most protected memories, your darkest moments, your brightest days, and ask how they inform your decisions and relationships.
How do we as a community engage in cultural memories?
​Photo from Caught, 2011. A dance and film project by Hannah Fischer
​Photo from Caught, 2011. A dance and film project by Hannah Fischer

The performers of When We Were There are of diverse movement backgrounds, all from our rich South Bend community. The primary cast, Greg Fox, Luke Fischer, and Susanna Frusti, began rehearsing in June 2014. Director Hannah Fischer called for community members to join the cast in September 2014 and received an enthusiastic response. Jing Zhu, Sophia Zovich, Ridge Alencar, Evan Scott Bryson, and Kristy Ganoe compose the community cast. 

PERFORMANCES: 
Friday, December 12, 2014 | 8:00 pm EST
Saturday, December 13, 2014 | 8:00 pm ESTPRESENTED IN COLLABORATION WITH:
LangLab South Bend
1302 High StreetTICKETS: $15 presale, $18 at the door.
Buy tickets here: WWWT.eventbrite.comFB:  https://www.facebook.com/events/357775494390650/

EMAIL: hannahbeth dot fischer at gmail dot com

#whenwewerethere  #wwwt

PS from the director:
“Hi, my name is Hannah, but you may know me as Hannahbird.

After three years away, I am thrilled to be back in this city. The streets are ever-changing, the color blooms on our crosswalks, and the foot traffic grows every day. I am proud to be an artist in South Bend.

As an artist, my work would be null and void without all of you. As a dancer/mover, my world does not make sense without other bodies with which to connect. Come and connect. Move and be moved.”

Hannah Fischer

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Be Part of South Bend’s Future by the Office of Sustainability

Sustainability is a way of thinking that accounts for environmental, economic, and social impacts of activities both within city government and in the larger South Bend community. Becoming a more sustainable city means South Bend will have a stronger economy, bounce back better after disasters, and be a more enjoyable place to live and work. Working together towards sustainability promotes investments in our community, celebrates and helps preserve local assets, and cultivates our parks and open spaces.

The purpose of the South Bend Office of Sustainability is to make South Bend a more sustainable city.  To best serve the needs and dreams of the city we need to know what, as a community, is most important to you.

What are South Bend’s issues and assets?

What do you imagine for our city?

Your opinions will help identify projects and priorities for a strategic sustainability plan that will be promoted and implemented by the Office.

Help South Bend find creative ways to preserve natural resources, ensure social equity, and cut costs.  Sustainability opportunities such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation and biking, connections between health and sustainability, reducing waste, and public outreach can build upon South Bend’s City Plan, the South Bend Parks and Recreation Plan, and the Smart Streets Initiative. We will use these initiatives to prioritize efforts that help bridge city functions or community groups.

Take our survey to have a direct impact in the creation of the future-focused, Sustainable South Bend. Share your values and priorities for a sustainable city so the South Bend Office of Sustainability can go to work with you.

 Be a part of South Bend’s future – share your opinions!

Take the survey at www.southbendin.gov/sustainability 

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Building a Better Block by Mara

This weekend community members will be Building a “Better Block” along Western Ave. to highlight and celebrate its potential as a thriving business district once again.   As someone who ‘Hearts’ SB, I heart ALL of South Bend, including the West side, and have been encouraging people to check it out. Many have asked what exactly it is, and it’s been hard to explain.  The Better Block event, Al Ritmo de la Western (The Rhythm of Western) is best described as a ‘block party’ but we’ve been warned by national Better Block staff not to describe it that way… so what will be going on over there?

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First some background: Better Block is a national non profit based in Dallas that channels tactical urbanism and development to show communities how awesome a neighborhood could be.  As Laurie Schrader LaDow, the co-organizer of South Bend’s event noted, “ The event is in part to bring positive attention to the West Side and the wonderful people and businesses there. Also to bring awareness for future business opportunities along Western and to help the area develop an strong identity as a destination within the city for things you may enjoy but can’t find easily elsewhere.”  Through the Greater South Bend/ Mishawaka Association of Realtors, a grant was secured to bring Better Block to South Bend. With some guidance from Andrew Howard of the BB staff committees were formed, plans were made and the neighborhood was invited to show the city all the potential this once vibrant area of Western still holds. LaDow points out that this area was chosen especially because of the city’s focus on it as part of the West Side Corridors Plan. 

To prep for the main event this weekend, volunteers like myself have been plotting with business owners, spiffing up vacant buildings to attract new business, building pallet furniture,  securing landscaping, gathering sponsors (THANK YOU SPONSORS) and planning one heck of a good time. Friday night and Saturday afternoon the community is invited to celebrate Al Ritmo de la Western as the fruits of these efforts are shown off to highlight what a little elbow grease can do in our neighborhoods. Urban Garden Market will be on hand, a pop-up coffee shop, an art gallery in the old PBS building, music, dog park, beer tent, vendors,  activities for kids including a photo (5)bouncy house and more along that stretch of Western Ave! We also encourage you to visit the businesses there that are flourishing  like Taqueria Chicago and La Rosita to see the potential for success.

The event is about community building too and getting to know our neighbors in that area. Although I had been to Taqueria Chicago for dinner before, I’d never had the opportunities to meet folks like I have with Better Block.  In addition to Laurie, Myron, the planning committee members and the Realtors, I’ve had the chance to get to know Sam of La Casa de Amistad and learn more about the great services La Casa provides to the community. I’ve also had the chance to meet Leti of the Boys and Girls Club at Harrison, and Deacon Atkins at the New Philadelphia Church and Mariano and Juan and a whole host of others who are all part of what makes South Bend awesome, but you might not read about them in the Tribune. photo (7)

And there has been such generosity! The mexican hot chocolate and sweet breads that magically showed up while we were painting one cold day were indescribably good, and I’ve fallen in love with the tamales at La Central on the corner.

So building a better block has been literal, as we clean up vacant lots  and shops, but also a figurative piece of building a better South Bend. My hope is that not only will YOU all be dancing to the Ritmo de la Western this weekend with us, but that you’ll look at your own neighborhood with your neighbors to see what you might be able to do to make it shine with some elbow grease and creative vision.

#weareSouthBend

 

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School’s In! by John Pinter

One of my favorite TV commercials, even if it’s a little bit out of date, is one for an office supply store that used to run in late August.  It’s from one of the big office supply stores, and a dad is taking two grumpy kids around to buy ‘back to school’ supplies while the Christmas carol, ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ is playing in the background.

Those of us blessed to have school aged children know that feeling, but also have mixed emotions about the start of school.  It’s fun—mostly–to have kids around, even when they’re easily bored, messy, lazy, and whatever else.  But, we entrust their care and livelihood, as well as their education, to a group of teachers and administrators.

There are over 30 schools in the South Bend school district’s service22192023_BG1 territory, and a look through the list of names gives some clues to how varied the offerings are as officials try to meet the (many)
requirements of state regulators, funders and voters, while trying to please voters and advocates.  Their first goal though is to try to give the kids the skills and desire to succeed in the world and by all means, graduate.  Public schools, in particular, do so while matching language, accommodations for disability, providing meals, and a variety of other challenges along the way.

This is not a ‘let’s all give our teachers a hug’ calling out.  However, it is important for those of us who care about the community, and specifically want to make South Bend a great city, to take notice of the importance of having good schools and develop an understanding of the difficulties in making that happen.  The community has to deal with lots of hard issues, like income disparities, racial tensions, access to technology, and hunger.  180 days of the year, we compress these problems into our school buildings and ask professionals trained primarily in education techniques to make sure our kids learn.

I have had the recent opportunity to meet with and work with a number of school officials who are working against a strong current of community issues that make school success very hard—poverty, violence, funding shortages, and the perception of family breakdowns—who try to do so against a nearly as strong tide of apathy and disinterest on the part of many, with and without kids in the schools.  The reader need not take my word for it, but I have had the chance to learn of great work behind the scenes in school districts from Penn-Harris-Madison to East Chicago, and many places ‘in between,’ be that geographically or academically.  I am privileged to know the principals at three of the South Bend public high schools, as well as the leader at St. Joseph’s High School, and school board members from all over. These are dedicated, creative, and impassioned folks who care about the kids.

As a community, we have a say and a part in making sure our schools are good and improving.  Whether any of the kids in the schools live in our houses, they are our children.  There’s an upcoming election for school board in much of Indiana, and lots to learn behind the scenes.  Getting educated about how a good school system makes an important economic difference is not hard; resources like Indiana Youth Institute abound.  The harder part is to get oneself committed to finding out how to help, be it as a mentor or as an advocate.  But it’s worth one’s self interest to do so.

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Folks who know me well are aware that I’m a diehard Adams Eagles fan, and root hard for ‘my’ kids, who include those born to me and those born to others Adams fans who populate the stands on Friday nights this time of year.  But I’m also cheering for the success of all the schools in South Bend the rest of the time, and for the kids who will eventually lead the community.

John Pinter is a resident of the Sunnymede Neighborhood in South Bend and an independent small business owner.  Among his interests are the intersections of great communities, international outreach, social justice and Adams High School sports!

 

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Sound by South Bend: Artist Profile- Dena Woods

It started with a voice.  Dena Woods was born to a very musical family.  As she was growing up in Wichita Falls Texas, she got her start singing with the rest of her family in a gospel group.  Her Aunt Dena, whom she was named after, was a professional musician in Nashville.  Her early years were spent in an environment that was rich with musical talent where singing and playing instruments were just part of everyday life.  It would seem that Dena was born to be a musician and her childhood was infused with sound from day one.  Dena did not seriously explore her own musical creativity until one year after her father died.  At the age of thirty she started playing ukulele and began writing her own songs.  Her first full performance was in the summer of 2013 at the Seitz and Sounds open stage series.  Her career as a musician has greatly accelerated since that day with a series of multi-state tours and a multitude of small venue and house shows.

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As many of you who follow the South Bend music scene know, Dena initially made a name for herself as an artist promoter as well as an event and venue manager.  She and Gus Bennett were the visionaries and prime movers behind both the South By South Bend music festival and the Pool.  Dena’s goal has been to provide performance opportunities that promote the connection between artist and audience.  She wants to offer places and spaces in which artists feel supported and safe.  The Pool has since become South Bend’s premier acoustic venue.  A place where the barriers of modern electrified music are stripped away leaving only the bond between musician and listener.  South By South Bend, which completed its second year this May, has become a showcase of regional talent as well as an event that highlights and sometimes even launches new South Bend music venues.  She is widely accepted by local musicians as a champion of original music and her tireless work promoting and supporting artists has won her a great amount of gratitude and respect.

When asked about the impetus behind the change from promoter to performer, Dena states, “I was called to make and perform music”.  Adding, “I want to help musicians… and play”.  I dual role may be in her future but for now she is focusing on her own music.  Her songs are honest, beautifully unembellished, and are often laced with tales from her own life.  She delivers the words bravely, directly, and in a way that instantly makes one aware that she knows too much about love, and loss, and resolution.  Her four song E.P., “Dena Dena Dena”, is being released this weekend, an album that took three months to create and features the talents of several local area musicians.  Dena calls the production of her E.P “a learning experience” and is looking forward to applying her new knowledge to future projects.  She is especially happy with the song “Walk Away” which is actually the first song that she wrote.  This reggae style song emerged as a surprise favorite during her most recent tour and she is especially pleased with the recorded version on the E.P.

So what’s next for Dena?  Some much deserved rest.  She is planning to take a break from performing after the promotion efforts for her E.P. are concluded.  She will use the winter break to learn more instruments and hone her song writing.  Touring has inspired Dena and also served as a spring of new ideas that she is planning to incorporate into her own music.  Visiting other towns has added to her vision of what the South Bend music scene could achieve.  She believes with all her being that “South Bend is poised to be a music town”.  Though Dena’s role within our community may evolve, she wants to “encourage everyone involved to be positive, supportive, and compassionate”.  She wants you to know that you can “take the reins” and be a force for change in South Bend.  I like to refer to Dena as the Queen of South Bend music.  No matter what direction her career arc takes, be it the path of the performer or the path of the promoter or both, she will always have a reserved seat at the head of the table.  After all, she made the table.

Dena

Matthew Teters

Teters, LLC Audio Production

phineasgageband@live.com

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Purple Porch Co-op: The Grandest of Openings by Myles Robertson

Five years ago a group of friends sat on a porch , dreaming of a food system that worked better for themselves, their families, and their community. They imagined having access to food grown by farmers sharing their same area code. Living in a region where fertile farmland is plentiful–drive just 10 minutes from downtown in any direction and look around–these dreams weren’t  so farfetched.

Though not impossible, a reimagined food system takes more than desire, it takes a lot of hard work. It takes a community. It takes cooperation.

Through several incarnations and the support of hundreds, Purple Porch Co-op grew from a conversation on a purple porch to a bricks and mortar grocery store open 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday, 8am-7pm) in downtown South Bend’s East Bank Village.

Open for nearly seven months in this new location at 123 N. Hill St., the store has flourished into a local food hub supplying local and organic food to the community. But you might ask, and people have asked, “after six months of operation, why throw a ‘Grand Opening’?”

Here’s my explanation.

In days long past, when mom-and-pop shops were the norm and mechanized chain giants were just entering our view on the distant horizon, a grand-opening six months in wasn’t so “avant garde”. This has been a grassroots endeavor. We’re learning as we go, as we always have. We’re becoming more efficient, our supply streams stronger.  When 123 N. Hill opened we worked with 13 local producers (within 60 miles of our store), we now work with over 50! We’re learning to be storekeeps, something none of us were before February 25th.

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So this Grand Opening at its very core isn’t about opening for us, it’s about gratitude. It’s a grand thank you. A thank you to our member-owners and customers who frequent our store, cafe, and market, to our neighbors and community, but most of all, to those who keep our dream seated in reality…Our Farmers.

For if it weren’t for them, our ever-growing network of food producers (of course the pun was intended) that stock our shelves with unique, flavor-focused food, we’d still be a dream, a vision of what could be.

So come check out our store. Mingle with the farmers, the bread bakers, the kombucha makers. Grab some kale that has a story and face to go along with it, that has character. Enjoy the sounds of local musicians, young and old, as you feast on the flavors of your home. Come see why I and 500 other ‘Benders own a grocery store with their friends. And while you’re here, perhaps sitting on our porch, dream of a city, of the world you want to help shape.

Grand opening details:

September 17th, 10:30am – Ribbon cutting with DTSB.  Be part of this historic moment!

September 17th, 5pm-8:30pm – Farmers Market, live music by Captain Ed Bennett and His N’er Do Wells and Phineas Gage Band, free food samples from our cafe, games in the open to people parking lot (closed to cars), words from member-owners, farmers, and food producers, the premier of our promotional video by Chuck Fry

Our first annual Glorious Gazpacho Contest will also take place this evening. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1553096438245238/

Photos by Myles Robertson

Purple Porch Co-op, purpleporchcoop.com

Myles is the local foods purchaser for Purple Porch Co-op and can be found working the front counter, checking customers out, stocking shelves, and on farms learning about the food we eat and the farmers growing it.  Want more local food in your restaurant, at your event, or in your home? Stop by the store or email Myles at myles.robertson.ppc@gmail.com

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Sound by South Bend #2 Matthew Teters

The Seitz and Sounds open stage series has become a fixture of the South Bend summer music scene.  The series, which is now in its second year, has blossomed into a showcase for both young and established local talent.  Seitz and Sounds is the brainchild of the Dietz family and was born out of their wish to provide a family friendly venue for aspiring artists.  Their goal was to create an open stage concert series with a format similar to that of the open mic night at Fiddler’s Hearth in downtown South Bend.  Don Dietz envisioned the series as a “jam session” which would feature a large variety of musical acts and also be a weekly social event.

S&SIt has become that plus much more.  On any given Thursday during the summer, Seitz Park becomes a genre mixing melting pot of musical styles.  This is by Dietz design.  Their goal is to introduce the audience to new music while at the same time challenge the performers to reimagine their personal and sometimes entrenched definitions of music.  This creates a refreshing environment that is reminiscent of variety shows of years past.  The mood is light and inviting.  Old and new friends sit on blankets eating pizza while others enjoy the beautiful St. Joseph River, ride bikes, or walk their dogs.  Seitz and Sounds’ resident DJ Chuck Fry offers the perfect complement to live performances during set breaks.  He brings to the table a brilliant offering that blends classic tunes and mind expanding new electronic music.

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At the nucleus of this joyous happening is the family Dietz.  This is truly a labor of love for Cathy and Don and they can often be seen looking over the event like proud parents of a flourishing child.  Don manages the finances and also serves as the sound engineer.  Kelly Dietz is a natural fit as the Seitz and Sounds’ MC.  She also serves as the talent coordinator as well as the social media guru.  Robin Dietz has graced the stage as a performer.  She is a young and promising songwriter and perfectly embodies the very concept of Seitz and Sounds.

Seitz and Sounds is an unqualified success but there have been challenges.  There is never a cover charge and the Dietz family shoulders the financial burden.  It costs $2,500 each summer to rent the park.  PA support and equipment is also provided by the Dietz family.  Their goal is clearly not to make money from this venture.  They have decided to invest a great deal of money, time, and effort into a community building event.  Theirs is a shining example of how to see a vision through until it becomes reality.  They have shown us what it means to create positive change in our community.

What does the future hold for Seitz and Sounds?  Don is looking to expand the PA capabilities with some new equipment.  Kelly would like to see more young people involved.  Perhaps book teenage artists.  I can’t think of another local venue that would be friendlier to a young performer who is taking the stage for the first time.  Phin           Next Thursday (8/28) will be the last event for this summer’s Seitz and Sounds series.  I am honored to say that my band, Phineas Gage, will be taking the stage along with the Paul Erdman Band, Damon Frick, and as always DJ Chuck Fry.

As this season comes to a close I hope you all get a chance to come to the show and thank the Dietz family for all they have done to promote our music community.  I asked the Dietz clan what they wanted to convey to readers.  They asked me to thank the community and to emphasize that every person in South Bend is capable of improving our city.  Their story is not only inspiring but also serves as a blue print.  So let’s get to it South Bend.

Matthew Teters

Photos by Khoa Huynh

Teters, LLC Audio Production

phineasgageband@live.com

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Less is More: Smart Streets come to Jefferson Blvd by Becky Reimbold

We’re experiencing the transition to smarter streets here on Jefferson Boulevard this summer.  All together, it will be several months of construction chaos.  Here’s why we think it is worth the trouble.
 Less road is more sidewalk which means more shared space for our community.
Less channeling automobiles rapidly through our downtown, means more time to smell the roses (and shop, and eat, and play).
 Less chances of accidents means more space for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely.
 Less runoff and storm sewer overloads, with the use of more permeable surfaces and functioning drainage systems.
 Less hot concrete in summer thanks to more shady trees.
IMG_0025Yes, it’s true we have had less sales dollars, but we have also had more cooperation with neighbors, city workers, construction workers and South Bend lovers.*
 
What about abundance, though?  Less seems stingy, doesn’t it? What I’ve learned, is that it doesn’t have to be.  By letting go of more, more, more, and thinking in terms of simple solutions, we really do find that abundance.  But, first, we have to let go.
*Thanks to DTSB  for their ongoing efforts to organize events like First Fridays, to Matthews LLC and friends for organizing the amazing East Bank Challenge, and to Ali Oesch for coordinating our recent sidewalk days.  We look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s big block party to celebrate our Howard Park Community on Saturday!
Want to get involved?  Just let us know info@justgoods.net.

 

Becky Reimbold –  Dreamer and proprietor of Just Goods, usually found behind the counter weekdays before 3pm and Saturdays.
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Learn. Choose. Live.: A New Initiative at the Food Bank of Northern Indiana by Maddy Martinec

Every day, millions of people struggle with the pain of diabetes. In Saint Joseph County, 12.6% of the residents have diabetes. Due to the cost of medical care, diabetics find it difficult to purchase healthy food since it is often much more costly than unhealthy options. Therefore, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana created the Healthy Choices Market in order to provide each client we serve we a dignified, educational experience and to encourage healthy food choices by working in local partnerships in order to affect overall community health.

In 2012, the Food Bank received a grant from Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in order to create a space dedicated to healthy eating. After careful brainstorming about the space, executive director, Milton Lee decided to create a space where clients could not only choose from healthier options, but they could also learn lessons that would benefit themselves and their families. The design and building process took about two months in the summer of 2013. As an intern that summer, I worked with Michiana Construction to design the layout and colors of the space. Our goal was to create a space that was welcoming and warm so clients could feel comfortable. This year, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana has partnered with Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Diabetics program. Throughout this summer, my fellow intern, Amber Vite, and I worked under the direction of Milt Lee to decide how we can best serve Memorial’s clients and provide them with an experience that would make them want to continue healthy living habits.

food bank 2The name of the initiative created for the Healthy Choices Market is Learn. Choose. Live. While visiting the Healthy Choices Market, clients will learn how to prepare healthy, low-cost meals. The Food Bank has partnered with the American Culinary Federation South Bend Cooks and Chefs Association and the head chef, Alan Seidler will be providing cooking demonstrations for clients. Once the cooking demonstration is complete, clients will choose food from our selection. After that, clients will leave the Healthy Choices Market with a recipe from the day and food to re-create the meal demonstrated to them. As of right now, this program is a doctor referral only program and clients must go through the Healthy Diabetics Program at Memorial. However, as we continue to work out all of the details, we hope to expand our program to more people in need.

On July 31, 2014, the Food Bank had 95 guests attend the open house for the Healthy Choices Market. Our partners were very pleased to see the space and the clients were excited to receive healthy food options. Chef Alan Seidler prepared a dish for everyone to sample that is cost effective and healthy. Also, we appreciate WNDU, ABC 57 and the South Bend Tribune for getting the word out about our new initiative. All of our partners have played a huge role in making this event successful and because of them, we are one step closer to creating a healthier community.

For more information, contact associate director, Marijo Martinec at 574-232-9986 ext. 124 or mmartinec@feedingamerica.org.  Maddy is  a junior at Holy Cross College, majoring in communications and minoring in theology, marketing and spanish. She is the vice chair of the student philantrophy council and last year was Social Concerns Committee President and the cheerleading team captain. She is from South Bend, IN. After Holy Cross, she hopes to work in a non-profit organization in a marketing and special events setting.  She also loves being involved in the South bend community.
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200 S. Michigan Artist District- Alive and Thriving by Lindsay Richardes Vest

It all started last year, at Art Beat.  We had been doing art shows all summer, and we really weren’t quite sure if we were prepared for another year of art shows after the one we had just been through.  Behind our booth, nestled in the 200 S. Michigan block was a tiny store front.  “That’s it, that’s the one.”  That’s what Mama T of Indiana Rug Co. A Textile Boutique said at that very moment as we set up for Art Beat.  Looking back, we weren’t quite sure of what we had decided, or the adventure we were getting ourselves into.  We didn’t realize at the time what this new storefront actually meant for us.  What we found in this block was a neighborhood that would enlighten us to all the potential that Downtown South Bend has to offer.DTSB

Before ever having this boutique in downtown South Bend, I personally never knew about First Fridays in downtown South Bend.  Like some people, I was ignorant to the fact that South Bend was a happening place.   We hadn’t had a Grand Opening, and had been open barely a week, but our first “First Fridays” event we had a photo booth.  We had gnome hats, gnome beards, fairy wings, and -1tutus as props and a cute backdrop set up, and we sold photos for a $1.  I bet we sold 185 photos that night.  We learned that night that people are looking for one of a kind experiences that don’t break the bank.  We had Flint’s Dance Studio come out, and dance under the marquee of the theater (which we are doing again August 1st at 6:30 *hint hint*).  We realized quickly that working with our neighbors, and creating an energy that people could feel and get excited about, brought more people.  Those people would tell their friends and family, and time and time again, they have come back. 

If you simply googled the definition of the word, “neighborhood,” you would see that it is simple.  It means “a district, especially one forming a community within a town or city.”  In the 200 S. Michigan block, that’s what I feel has happened in the last (almost) year. You see, our company, Indiana Rug Co. has been in business for more than 30 years. When we began to move into this space, we quickly bonded with our new neighbors, The Doyle’s at Idle Hours Bookshop.  At the time we moved in, Drew was managing The State Theater, and we hit it off well with Drew.  Then came time for the pop up shop season, and we found another bond with Amy and Diana from The Pigeon & the Hen Pottery.  What has begun as business relationships quickly lead to friendships.  This lead to the drive to help each other succeed. Our passion to show the truly wonderful things that are g10489848_10152441013913280_3737394563544882964_noing on right here in your own backyard lead to us working cohesively together which brings a sense of community.  Something consistent that we have going on every month is First Fridays.  We’ve begun to work together with one another to coordinate our events so that our block has become a destination of excitement.  We want people to know that something fun and unique can be found in this block.  We are able to help you create affordable memories with your family and friends, and enhance the community by doing so. We are happy to be part of the movement and work with our neighbors to make people feel good about South Bend.

The 200 S. Michigan block has this fantastic anchor.  You may have heard of it before: The State Theater.  With its iconic marquee, and classic downtown South Bend look you really can’t miss it when you are near our block.  Drew left the theater and began to pursue South Bend Brew Werks (which we can’t wait for it to open!!) Trish who had been volunteering at the Theater stepped in to fill his shoes, and is looking forward to working with this wonderful neighborhood to create  a destination spot.  The future of the theater is left up to us.  It will become what we make it.  What things do you want to see at our theater in downtown South Bend? Let us know in the blog comments.  We (our little neighborhood) have a lot of changes in store, and fresh new ideas that continue to form in our like minded heads. The longer we’ve been here, the more we have realized that people like different.  They like something that’s local.  So, this little artist block will be reinvigorating and you can count on that!

This past First Friday also happened to be July 4th.  Honestly, we didn’t have high hopes for the turnout.  We figured most people would be out of town, or doing other things than being downtown.  Boy, was I wrong! Let me paint the scene for you.  Well, okay, I’ll include a picture too -2. It was pretty warm out, the sun was shining.  The State Theater Marquee read “Happy Birthday, America!”.  We had a red jeep parked under it decked out with American flags.  We had 5 fantastic volunteers raising money for charity by being dunked in a dunk tank.  There was a pie eating competition (4 contestants).  Cutie pies from this block had an All American Lemonade stand in matching American pride aprons.  Red, white, and blue pin wheels were blowing in the breeze.  Right before we rang the dinner bell to start the pie eating competition, I looked up in awe. There were people everywhere!  The vibe was amazing, and people were smiling, laughing, and genuinely enjoying their downtown. We can’t tell you how that affected us.  It inspired us.  We pour our heart and soul in to each First Fridays.  We come up with outrageous (sometimes too outrageous) ideas. We work with DTSB, The State Theater, Pigeon & the Hen Pottery, Idle Hours Bookshop, and the soon to be open South Bend Brew Werks to create a tenacious and fun vibe.  Why do we do all this?  We do it for YOU.  We realized somewhere in this last year, this city is what you make it.  The events on First Fridays and special events (and frankly, day to day downtown) are what you make it.  You own the energy you put out.  So, if you haven’t already, join us at First Fridays in downtown South Bend, and continue to bring back the good vibes to South Bend. #wearesouthbend

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In addition to enthusiastic community builder and fun event planner on the 200 block of S. Michigan, Lindsay is the boutique and social media manager for Indiana Rug Co.  Don’t miss all the fun they have planned for this First Friday in Downtown South Bend!

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