Oasis of art

Center founded by John Mellencamp diverse in arts programming

Posted on Feb 20 2020 in Travel
Photo of a piece of art

Hoosier musical artist John Mellencamp has achieved international fame for over 40 years punching out a unique brand of rootsy rock’n’roll.

Mellencamp’s radio-station standards — like “Hurts So Good,” “Jack and Diane,” “Pink Houses,” “Small Town,” and “Rain on the Scarecrow” — have ranged from catchy Top 40 tunes about teenage romance and rebellion to plaintive and provocative broadsides about the struggles of rural and small-town America.

But he’s also an accomplished visual artist. He started painting at an early age, was formally trained in New York. and actually might have pursued art as a career — had a recording contract not found him first.

So, when the Mellencamp family established the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in his hometown of Seymour in 1991, it came as no surprise that it would be an oasis for arts of all sorts — fine, performing, culinary, architectural, literary, and artisan.

The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is housed in a beautiful 1851 brick mansion sitting upon a hill overlooking the White River. The Center is a not-for-profit organization operated by volunteers and a volunteer board of directors.

While the Center has become a Mecca for Mellencamp fans from as far away as Australia, Europe and South Africa, and his spirit embodies the Center, the Center stands on its own with support from the community.

When asked, Mellencamp does autograph posters and pamphlets for the people who visit the Center. He also allows the Center to have one room reserved to exhibit around six of his works. Prints from three of his paintings, signed and unsigned, also are exclusively sold at the Center as fundraisers.

SICA has two galleries, the Main Gallery and the Front Gallery. Exhibits in the Main and Front galleries rotate approximately every 30 days. Artists can request a one-person or group show. 

Upcoming events at the center include Spring Break Art Camps later this month, two sessions coinciding with the spring break vacations of area schools. The Center also hosts a Summer Art Camp.

Check the Center’s website for updates of exhibitions and performances.


Southern Indiana Center for the Arts
2001 N. Ewing St.
Seymour, Indiana 47274

Hours: Wednesday-Friday, Noon-5 pm; Saturday, 11 am-3 pm (or by appointment)

812 522-2278