By: RACHAEL PITTMAN
Art is central to the community in South Bend.
Where and how art is created in South Bend is changing with community creative spaces like MAKE South Bend.
Creative spaces are areas for people to either meet together or work independently on projects ranging from painting to digital design.
Michelle Fitzgerald is the owner of MAKE South Bend. She began her journey as a middle-school teacher, but decided to instead found this business.
MAKE is right down the road from campus on Mishawaka Ave. Because of its location, Fitzgerald wants students to use her space alongside children and families in the community.
“The co-working space and the tools around really help you bounce ideas off of other people,” Fitzgerald said. “You really get a good benefit from the makers’ space when you’re here with people with other skills.”
MAKE South Bend currently offers classes in laser cutter, woodshop, printmaking, painting, sculpting, knitting, jewelry making, sheet work, 3-D printing, digital design and other services.
“There is a lot of crossover. So we have had people design something from a drawing, 3D print it and then turn it into a clay sculpture from using a mold,” Fitzgerald said. “So there is a lot you can do with it. I have used sketches that have become screens in the screen-printing area and now they are out there on shirts. These are things you can do.”
Though Make just started in February, there is already talk of expansion. Plans for a new “Renaissance district” around the old Studebaker buildings in Downtown South Bend include room for creative spaces such as MAKE. Fitzgerald said her business might move into that Renaissance district when it is completed.
FitzGerald’s ultimate goal is to have a giant creative space and possibly even two spaces.
“This space is in a family friendly neighborhood, but I think to would be good to have both spaces eventually,” she said.
The larger space, she said, will allow for blacksmithing and other hard skills.
“Here is a good place to start, but nothing super dangerous. We want to play with fire” FitzGerald said.
Current membership costs are $25 per person for access from 12 to 8 p.m. Members that have a studio room with a locked door have access longer.
MAKE South Bend is also in need of interns, volunteers and class teachers. They will take supply donations as long as they are in good condition.
“Even students could teach. We have people that have zero-clue when they come in. Our classes are geared towards people who have no experience when they come in,” Fitzgerald said. “We would love to see students come in and use what they have learned to make new stuff or search for something that’s their new passion. I think it is important for people that create, that they never stop learning and never stop innovating.”