Historic building being renovated for Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

An artist's rendering of the front of the Hansel Center An artist’s rendering of the front of the Hansel Center.

The University of Notre Dame will open a new center for the arts and culture in January in a renovated historic building, bolstering a growing museum district just west of downtown South Bend.

Located in the former Hansel Center, the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture will house the University’s Community Relations Department, its Crossroads Art Gallery and the Segura Fine Art Print Studio — a renowned print studio formerly based in Arizona. The new facility will continue the activities and programming of the department and gallery, as well as provide new opportunities for youth and adult programming.

“We are very excited to establish a Notre Dame presence on the west side of downtown,” said Timothy Sexton, associate vice president of public affairs. “This center gives us new opportunities to partner with other museum district organizations, with other higher-education partners, especially IUSB, and to connect with neighbors in the area.”

The fully renovated facility will provide a common and accessible space for community programming, the arts and education that aims to strengthen the community and celebrate cultural diversity. Located at 1045 W. Washington St., it will be directly across from the IUSB Civil Rights Heritage Center at the Engman Natatorium and help expand a growing West Side cultural corridor that includes the Studebaker Museum and the Northern Indiana Center for History.

An artist's rendering of an aerial view of the Hansel Center An artist’s rendering of an aerial view of the Hansel Center.

The $2.5 million renovation project is being completed by a partnership of Notre Dame and the South Bend Heritage Foundation. Federal Community Development Block Grants were also used to finance some of the project. The foundation and university led fundraising efforts among local businesses and philanthropic organizations, including the Notre Dame Institute for Institute for Latino Studies, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust and the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Gilberto Cardenas, professor of sociology, will serve as executive director of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture.

“This renovated space will provide a perfect location to expand the current gallery and provide programs bringing together the University, the arts and the community,” Cardenas said.

Located within the West Washington National Historic Register District, the Hansel Center was built in 1925 as the Children’s Dispensary, where free and reduced medical care was available to families without financial resources. It was later named after the Dispensary’s founder, Dr. Charles Hansel. The facility has also served as a neighborhood center and as the administrative offices for Head Start. Vacant since August 2003, the building contains more than 10,000 square feet of space on two floors and nearly 4,000 square feet in the basement.