Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I would tell you about the fascinating arts gallery we visited in South Bend, Indiana. Time and circumstances are now right for me to focus on sharing this special place and owner with you.
Background: I had passed this quaint building several times as I drove through South Bend, and was determined to visit. So, one day while visiting a nursery in town, Hubby agreed to visit the gallery with me.
This was our first view of the building and as you might expect, there is a history. Built in 1904, it has been used as a drug store, grocery, radio shop, flooring & tile business and finally as as aluminum and siding company until 1988.
Kathy Reddy White and her husband, Gary bought this historic building in 1999 and after rehabilitating the entire building, opened it full-time in 2002. That same year the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Kathy and Gary combined their interests in antiques (Circa) and art (Arts) in creating the name,
CircaArts Gallery commissioned Dave Blodgett to paint a mural on the east side of the building to draw attention to the gallery and shops inside. The scene is a turn-of-the-century version of the shops that were at that time housed in the building - CircaArts Gallery and Inspire Me! (an upscale women's clothing and accessories shop which has since moved to the historic building next door). This was the first facade grant issued by Downtown South Bend, Inc. and was completed in 2003.
Upon first view from the rear, we weren't exactly sure what to expect. But, it was so rustically appealing, I couldn't resist.
Once we approached the covered back door, our senses were greeted by all things quaint and dated.
And, we were tempted to....
At first knock on the back locked screen door, we were greeted by a welcoming "Meow" coming from inside. We learned that the gallery was actually closed because Kathy, the owner, was trying to complete a commissioned painting. But, she was so gracious and invited us in. The source of the "Meow" was also very welcoming and let me scratch her a bit.
This is the painting she was working on. I could easily be transported into that scene. Couldn't you?
Kathy willingly explained the purpose of the gallery and many of the pieces on display.
The gallery is dedicated to supporting local artists and to provide one-of-a-kind gifts for local residents and visitors, like us. They have works by approximately 30 local artists on consignment and represent emerging as well as established artists.
This is a tiled and painted piece that Kathy did. I really liked the combination of materials in this arts and crafts piece.
Kathy is standing at the top of the stairs that lead into her tile studio and it takes you into another world.
This is where the tile creative process begins and finishes. I felt so privileged to be in that space.
This is a fireplace surround that she created and has displayed in this area.
Could you not be content to wile away a few hours in this cozy little nook?
I came away with one of her beautiful tile pieces of my favorite flower, the Iris, and have it displayed in my sunroom.
Should you ever be in the South Bend area, I do hope you will drop in and visit Kathy in the
CircaArts Gallery and tell her Libby sent you.
In the meantime, you may enjoy just visiting with her in this interesting video:
May you have an art-filled day!