South Bend partnering with two local artists to revitalize Pier Park

NOW: South Bend partnering with two local artists to revitalize Pier Park

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Sitting off the St. Joseph River, near the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in Downtown South Bend sits Pier Park. South Bend Venues Parks and Arts announced that Park will be getting a makeover soon. The city said it will be collaborating with two local artists to install an infinity mirror in the Park's tunnel under Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard and pump music throughout the park. The two artists, Cara Givens and Eli Kahn, said being a part of this project and having a chance to leave their mark on South Bend means the world to them.

"It's an honor," Givens said. "I'm a South Bend native, born and raised. So, to watch the city develop, but also be a part of that development is an accomplishment for me. I'm really excited to be part of this process and hope I can continue to make artwork for the city and any other cities who ask."

Givens said she designed the infinity mirror, a piece she called Ethers Requiem. She said she wanted it to pay homage to the area's history.

"(It's inspired by) A power plant that used to be here," Givens said. "We wanted to build something that had that same electricity, that electric feeling and the same light and kind of reinterpreting what was once here and bringing it to the present."

Kahn said the project was a chance to turn dirt into gold in South Bend.

"I thought this would be a really cool opportunity for them to take something that was once a blight on the city and turn it into something really awesome," Kahn said.

Kahn, a local musician, said he is writing an original composition to play through a quadrophonic sound system, which would surround people in the park by four speakers that would play the music in different patterns for people there.

Both Kahn and Givens said they wanted the project to give Pier Park a modern electric feel.

"Parts of the piece will flow in one direction," Kahn said. "Other elements will go in the other direction. So, it's very much like having an auditory hallucination. It's very unique to experience."

Kahn said he was honored to have his own original music playing on a loop at Pier Park, but that was not what's driving him.

"This has been a really hard year for a lot of people," Kahn said. "I think we've all kind of considered the possibility of better realms and worlds than this one or at least I know I have. So, I wanted to create a piece that felt like you're standing at the nexus point between here and the infinite worlds that exist like in string theory. You'll be able to see into this tunnel forever. So, perhaps there's a world that exists in that nexus that we could enter to escape all of the bad things we're having to have happen here."

South Bend Venues Parks and Arts said it the plan was to finish the project by the end of April, but it had not yet released a date for when the revitalized Pier Park would re-open.

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