The South Bend Museum of Art features a full spectrum of historical and contemporary art featured in five galleries. A wide range of artistic traditions are taught in our world-class art studios. Located inside the Century Center in downtown South Bend, Indiana, the SBMA is an architectural delight. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, the museum occupies three levels in the northern wing of the building.

The South Bend Museum of Art affirms the enduring power of the visual arts to reflect and create community, engage minds, and nurture growth through exhibitions, collections and educational programs.

Since its founding in 1947, the SBMA has provided insight into the art, history and culture of the region and nation. Since 1987, SBMA has been recognized as achieving the highest level of professional standards in the field, awarded accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. Accreditation status must be renewed every 10 years and, in March of 2011, SBMA was awarded ongoing accreditation. Accreditation inspires museums to achieve a higher standard. It strengthens the field as a whole, as well as the museums that receive accreditation. The rigorous process leads to sustained organizational improvement and a clearer sense of purpose. Of the estimated 17,500 museums in the U.S., only 750 are accredited.

The River Park Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library, in collaboration with the South Bend Museum of Art (SBMA), is seeking proposals for artwork that reflect the feel of the River Park neighborhood of South Bend. Three selected artworks will be given cash awards and final artworks will remain on view to enliven the River Park Branch Library building. $23,500 in cash awards: $10,000 First Prize; $5,000 Second Prize; $3,500 Third Prize; and $500 to each of 10 finalists.


December 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. EST


Charlotte Hunt was the youngest sibling and only daughter of Ruth and John Hunt who lived in River Park for many decades. Charlotte loved River Park and the St. Joe River. She had many friends in “the Park” and was well known. She especially enjoyed patronizing the River Park Branch Library. Her surviving siblings, Doug, Rick and Dale, would like to recognize Charlotte’s love of the library by this invitation to artists to create a suitable expression of that love and patronage. We contemplate some version of the visual arts in whatever medium the artist chooses. We trust in one way or another — whether a literal homage to the greater neighborhood or a medium and message expressive of the spirt of “the Park” — that the responding artist will capture the essence of this special neighborhood in the South Bend community.  —Doug Hunt 

Finished artworks must fit one of three available locations within the River Park Branch Library. Images and dimensions are available here.


The River Park neighborhood is located on the east side of South Bend, Indiana, only a few minutes away from both downtown South Bend and downtown Mishawaka. Originally farmland, River Park was platted in 1892 and incorporated as a town in 1900. In 1910, River Park was briefly annexed by Mishawaka, but residents voted to merge with South Bend instead. Soon afterward, South Bend began planning for a new school and fire station in River Park. Both the school, John F. Nuner, and the Fire Station ("Hose House No. 9”) at 26th and the "Avenue" became fixtures in the childhood of generations of River Park kids.

While part of South Bend, older River Park residents remain proud of their ‘town’, its people and neighborhoods, its shops and schools, and its place on the river. Some notable landmarks include the River Park Branch Library, Adams High School, Nuner Elementary School, Indiana University - South Bend, Potawatomi Park and Greenhouse, Potawatomi Zoo, the River Walk, and the former River Park Theatre.

It is also noteworthy that the St. Joe River, from the Logan Street bridge to the Twyckenham bridge, essentially formed the southern border of River Park, as in some ways did the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks form the northern boundary of River Park.


These pictures don't need to be included in the final artwork in any way, but may help inspire ideas — especially for artists unfamiliar with the area.

Recent Pictures 


Historical Pictures



Artist submission review and selection will be done by representatives from the Hunt Family, the St. Joseph County Public Library, and the South Bend Museum of Art.


Open to any artist and all two-dimensional media that can be installed on a wall.


  • Up to 10 images of your current work (5 minimum) representative of the style and media you would expect to create your finished artwork in (if selected). 
  • Title, media, year and scale for each image
  • A short written description (150 words or less) of what you would expect your finished artwork to be. What would the subject be? What media? Any other information?
  • Artist résumé
  • There is no fee to apply.



  • If awarded a First, Second or Third Prize, the final, finished artwork will need to fit within one of the three designated locations within the River Park Branch Library.
  • Each of the ten selected finalists will receive a $500 stipend as compensation for creating preliminary sketch or sketches for their finished artwork. These will then be juried by the same selection committee and three awardees will be selected (First, Second and Third Prizes). These artists will then be given time to create their final artwork. 
  • All artworks must be finished and delivered to the River Park Library Branch no later than October 30, 2020.
  • Finished artworks will be the property of the St. Joseph County Public Library.
  • The River Park Branch Library will assume responsibility of framing finished works (if applicable) to make sure that the frames will coordinate well with other interior furniture and decorations.


The three Prize winning artists are responsible for the delivery of the work to the River Park Library Branch location, including all costs.


  • December 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for entry
  • December 2–13, 2019: Jurying of entries
  • December 16, 2019: Announcement of the ten selected Finalists on SJCPL.org, and social media. Finalists will also receive emailed notification.
  • February 16, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for sketches of proposed, finished artworks by the ten finalists
  • February 17–28, 2020: Jurying of finalists' proposals
  • March 2, 2020: Announcement of First, Second and Third Place Awards.
  • October 26–30, 2020: Delivery of final, finished artwork to the River Park Branch and installation. Exact timing to be determined, coordinating with SBMA and SJCPL staff (there is flexibility).
  • TBD: Reception and unveiling of the finished artworks, River Park Library (5:00–9:00 p.m. EST)

Brandi Bowman, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Collections
South Bend Museum of Art

South Bend Museum of Art