Seeking help from the public. Theft of artwork stolen Saturday, February 15th between hours of 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

South Bend Museum of Art is seeking the public’s assistance in the return of a piece of artwork stolen from the museum on Saturday, February 15th, between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. The museum is located at 120 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in downtown South Bend (inside the Century Center).

The piece, titled Welcome Knives, is one shoe from a one of a kind pair of shoes, part of SBMA’s current exhibition Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art .

SBMA museum staff and South Bend Police are currently investigating the incident which includes the review of video surveillance from the Century Center during the time in question.

SBMA and Chris Francis would very much like to see it returned to his collection.

A statement from Chris Francis: “I’m extremely delighted that so many have enjoyed the Modern Bespoke Exhibition at South Bend Museum of Art. I am however saddened to be informed that someone has chosen to steal the piece ‘Welcome Knives’ from the exhibition.The shoes exhibited are all documented and catalogued works of art that have shown in many museums. Every shoe in the exhibition is one of a kind, with no others in existence making them very different than shoes we find in stores.

Museums are institutions we all can visit, engage with art and learn from. When a piece is stolen from an exhibition it is stolen not just from the artist but from future audiences.
It’s my hope that the shoe is returned, perhaps someone didn’t think about the seriousness of the crime committed and will find it within them to return the piece.

South Bend Museum of Art and curator Mark Rospenda have put together a beautiful exhibition. It’s unfortunate that one piece has been stolen but many others remain on display for further enjoyment. Thousands have already visited and enjoyed this exhibition for all of the positivity it contributes to art. I look forward to sharing these positive aspects of the work throughout the exhibition’s duration.
Thank you!”

Said Susan Visser, SBMA Executive Director, “We thank Chris Francis for the opportunity to share these beautiful works of art with our community. The sculptural shoes are unique and exquisitely crafted. We encourage visitors to enjoy this beautiful exhibition while it is here, through April 5. Any information about this theft, or the return of the object to the museum, will be treated with anonymity. Our concern is the safe return of this irreplaceable work of art.”

We are asking that anyone with information about the whereabouts of this piece please contact the South Bend Police Department at (574) 235.9201 or the South Bend Museum of Art directly via email at, or through SBMA’s social media accounts:
Facebook: @SouthBendMuseumofArt
Twitter: @southbendart
Instagram: @southbendart

Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art is on exhibit through April 5, 2020 in South Bend Museum of Art’s Art League Gallery.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.