John Mellencamp is not only a famous musician and actor, he’s also a great landlord, according to his tenants at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, Indiana. In 1989, Mellencamp bought the property while filming his motion picture Falling from Grace. He then struck a deal with the arts council and began renting the property at the cost of one dollar every two years.
The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is open for visitors Tuesdays through Saturdays from Noon to 5 p.m. The collection features some unique and exclusive paintings by John Mellencamp and his mother Marilyn. A little known fact about this Indiana music legend is that he began seriously painting during a break in his music career. Although he grew up watching his artistic mother, Mellencamp wasn’t inspired to dabble with painting until he spent some time in Paris.
Other Mellencamp memorabilia is displayed at this Indiana museum, including the cage featured in Falling from Grace. The movie was made mostly in Seymour, and if you’ve seen the flick, the cage is unforgettable. Sparks would fly as a group of rowdy redneck boys drove a pickup with the cage trailing and a friend inside. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the story ends with Mellencamp’s character in hospital recovery. Falling from Grace is a semi-biographical film Mellencamp directed and it was his first acting debut on the big screen. It’s based on a story by Larry McMurtry called “Lonesome Dove.”
Educational programs and events are offered for aspiring artists of all ages. There are often lectures, art education classes, juried art shows and other workshops held throughout the year. A three week art camp is offered every summer at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, and dozens of Indiana events take place at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Every Saturday, the center offers open houses in the barn’s pottery shop.
The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is known for having a home-like feel. It’s housed in a Greek revivalist style mansion with beautiful Italian details on the large front porch. It’s accented by the beautiful Minutes to Memories Garden that’s located to the north of the home. The garden was dedicated in 2003 in memory of Grandma Laura Mellencamp. Hoosier Mellencamp Fans were able to raise enough money for a gorgeous memorial plaque that’s mounted on a metal love seat. Other sculptures and memorials are placed in the garden too, it’s truly a site to see.
Special appointments are available outside of business hours, upon request. Some lucky visitors have even been able to call the gallery’s phone number and get a staff member to open up the doors. In order to fully enjoy the collection, be sure to plan ahead for your next day trip from Indianapolis.
Southern Indiana Center for the Arts
2001 North Ewing Street
Seymour, Indiana 47274