South Bend Heritage Foundation began development of the Colfax Cultural Center in 1983 and now owns and manages the 23,000 square foot facility. Concern for the spirit and creative life of the neighborhood where housing projects were located motivated SBHF’s board and staff to undertake the creation of the Colfax Cultural Center.
Built in 1898, the Colfax School now the Colfax Cultural Center is named after Schuyler Colfax and is the oldest remaining Victorian school house in South Bend. Schuyler Colfax was born after his father died in 1823. At 13, he became a store clerk in South Bend. At the age of 20, Colfax owned and edited the local newspaper. At the age of 32, Colfax was elected to the U.S House of Representatives, becoming Speaker of the House and Vice President of the United States under Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.
The Center now houses low-cost studios and galleries for artists, performance space for dancers and actors, workshop space for a church and mosque, offices for several art-related businesses and social service agencies. Collaborative organizations located at the Colfax Center include the Colfax Campus Gallery, Southhold Dance Theater, and Neil Gilbert a counselor, psychotherapist and healing touch practitioner. Other organizations include Imani and Unidad, Inc., Renew, Inc. Mamas Against Violence and the South Bend chapter of the NAACP.