South Bend artist creates community art piece for Howard Park

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--A local artist and South Bend Venues Parks and Arts marketing manager Danica Kulemeka has created an art piece that will hang at the new Howard Park’s community center.

“I wanted to use something that represented the Earth, that’s why I came up with working with the wood. It’s called ‘Bend and Flow,” Kulemeka said.

The installation was placed in its new home on a wall in the community center on Tuesday morning. Kulemeka will spend the days before the official reopening of Howard Park on November 29 doing some touch-ups.

 by Kulemeka makes final touch-ups on

Kulemeka says that the 24-foot-long piece is a nod to the St. Joseph River, which runs adjacent to Howard Park.

“I wanted to make something that was very tactile and that you can touch and that no one would be afraid that it would get messed up or anything and kids could interact with it a little bit,” Kulemeka said.

The project, in total, took about a month, but Kulemeka didn’t work on it alone.

The Indiana University-South Bend graduate asked students and parents at Nuner Fine Arts Academy to lend a hand painting the wooden blocks.

“Of the 2,000 blocks in the installation, the students probably painted 800 of them,” Kulemeka said.

Once the blocks were painted and the design set, Kulemeka got a little help from workers in Skilled Trades to assemble the final product.

Kulemeka hopes that community members who visit Howard Park, whether its to take a class or enjoy an evening of ice skating, will find joy in her art piece.

“It’s just exciting to have grown up here to see the changes in Howard Park and to be able to bring something really beautiful, to make South Bend beautiful, and make it welcoming for everyone,” Kulemeka said. “Hopefully everyone will be able to enjoy this.”

Kulemeka’s piece will sit in the community center until about June. After that, she hopes to have other local artists show their work in the space.

A grand opening event will start at 4:30 p.m. on November 29 at Howard Park. A ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.

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