The City’s entrance gateways are the first impression people have of South Bend. Much effort has been made in improving the curb appeal of the City’s gateways, from the Roundabouts at the north and south ends of town to the West Sides Main Streets projects.
Using art at the gateways has many benefits. First, the art installations need to be functional. This additions are meant to focus drivers and improve their experience, so scale and complexity are important considerations. These are opportunities to welcome and thank people for visiting the city and should be regarded as the front door: with clear elements that provide visual direction.
Beyond that, art helps to convey the unique identity of the community. Placing it at the City’s gateways can showcase South Bend’s history or culture or ideals. These are critical because they play an important role in creating community attachment, which in turn creates more community advocates. So between attracting more people and generating attachment to those who already live here, public art, especially at the City’s entrance gateways, is one of the most important investments a city can make.