Center for Civic Innovation relocates to former Center for Arts and Culture, expands programming

Author: Erin Blasko

Center For Arts And Culture 2831 Feature

The Center for Civic Innovation at the University of Notre Dame has relocated from Innovation Park to the former Center for Arts and Culture in South Bend, closer to its partners in the community.

The center will host an open house at the new location, 1045 W. Washington St., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 8 (Tuesday). Officials will offer brief remarks about the new center and refreshments will be served. The public is welcome to attend.

The Center for Arts and Culture opened in the former Hansel Center, a 1920s-era hospital building on West Washington Street in South Bend, in 2013.

In addition to the Segura Arts Studio, Crossroads Gallery and Office of Community Relations, the center hosted educational programming in partnership with the Robinson Community Learning Center as well as special events and programs related to arts, culture and community engagement for residents of all ages.

Those events and programs, including literacy tutoring for students in grades two through six, a summer arts camp for middle school students and an annual Day of the Dead celebration, will continue at the new Center for Civic Innovation, and the Crossroads Gallery will remain open there as well.

Functions associated with the former Office of Community Relations will be the responsibility of the Office of Public Affairs.

The move locates the Center for Civic Innovation closer to its partners in the South Bend-Elkhart region, notably the city of South Bend and various business, educational and community organizations on the west and southeast sides of the city.

It also expands the University’s off-campus research presence, which in addition to the Center for Civic Innovation includes the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory at Ignition Park and the Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility at St. Patrick’s Park.

“We’re very excited to be relocating from the Notre Dame campus to the heart of a neighborhood downtown,” said Jay Brockman, director of the Center for Civic Innovation. “We meet frequently with our community partners ranging from neighborhood associations to city government, and this will give us all better access to each other.”

Jennifer Wittenbrink Ortega, literacy programs director for the Robinson Community Learning Center, said, “We are thrilled to be a part of the new Center for Civic Innovation and to be able to continue offering educational programs to the families on the west side of South Bend.”

A collaboration among the College of Engineering, Notre Dame Research, the Center for Social Concerns, the Idea Center and the Office of Public Affairs, the Center for Civic Innovation works with other research centers and individuals across Notre Dame to find innovative solutions to pressing civic issues, primarily in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

Among other things, the center operates three internship programs — the Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem and Western Educational Ecosystem in South Bend and Elkhart Catalyst in Elkhart — and offers science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programming, including an innovative STEM+Music program, to elementary school students in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

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Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on September 16, 2019.