School of the Arts

Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts visible across South Bend

By Marvin Curtis


Visibility for the Raclin School of the Arts was one the tenets Dean Marvin Curtis talked about when he arrived in 2008.  While much progress has been made on that front, November 2010 proved to be a turning point.

Working with Burkhart Advertising, 10 billboards appeared around the South Bend area.  In addition to the billboards, 16 king-size buses were outfitted with the same concept. Designed by Tiffany Goehring in the office of Communications and Marketing, the new advertising proclaimed “Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts - Celebrating 20 years in the Arts.” 

For most of November and all of December, the advertising was seen around the area by thousands of people. Reaction from students ranged from “Hey, that’s my school,” to “I am so proud.” Arts Foundation Board members, faculty, staff, and residents commented about the positive impact.  Even employees of First Source Bank, where Ernestine M. Raclin is Chairman Emeritus, took time to compliment the new advertising. 

While the billboards were due to come down at the end of December, many of them remained up through March.  This campaign was by far the largest of the school year, but it was not the only one.  In addition to our long partnership with public radio station WVPE, advertising appeared on the urban contemporary African American station WUBU, the Spanish language station Radio Sabor Latino (98.1 FM), WAUS from Andrews University, and WZOC (Oldies 94.3).  Felix Marquez, an IUSB student and host of a program on Radio Sabor Latino translated the copy into Spanish for broadcast.

Radio and billboards were complemented by a partnership with public television station WNIT.  The Raclin School of the Arts sponsored programs including Freedom Riders, Antiques Roadshow, Who Does She Think She Is, Dr. Zhivago, Masterpiece Classics: Upstairs, Downstairs, Lennon NYC, Sondheim The Birthday Concert along with other prime time and children’s programming.
Numerous articles appeared in the South Bend Tribune, including major articles about  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Animal Farm, and “Lift every Voice: Celebrating the African American Spirit.”  This kind of visibility has helped to bring over 18,000 people to campus for performances, lectures, and exhibitions during the academic year.

Aspire magazine has played its part in increased visibility. The magazine was distributed in South Bend hotels in South Bend through a partnership with the South Bend/Mishawaka Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The magazine was mailed to arts teachers and school guidance counselors throughout the region. Copies were also given to the South Bend Real Estate Association for distribution to new home buyers in the area. 

Mayor Stephen Luecke stopped Dean Marvin Curtis and Director of Communications and Marketing Ken Baierl at a dinner and raved about the magazine.  Following that meeting, the mayor and several of his aides came to campus to have lunch with Curtis and the Office of Public Affairs and University Advancement to discuss the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts.