The Art Center is a not-for-profit organization operated by a volunteer Board of Directors and volunteer Directors. Membership is available which puts you on our mailing list and offers several discounts at the Arts Center. Support of the Art Center is appreciated by your tax-deductable donations.
The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is housed in an 1851 two-story brick mansion owned by recording artist John Mellencamp. It is a Greek revivalist style with Italian details on the porches. The house has a unique history and has changed little over the years.
The Art Center has taken care to keep the home-feeling of the house while serving as an Art Center.
It is the mission of the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts to provide art education and enjoyment to the surrounding communities, both in a gallery and studio environment and to draw the attention of the state and surrounding states to the area of Jackson County as an art conscious region.
Hours and Directions
The Art Center is open 12 to 5 Wednesday through Friday and 11 to 3 on Saturdays, or by appointment. If you are out of town and drop by when the Art Center is not open, you may call the numbers posted in the window and might possibly get someone to open for you. The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is located off Highway 11 (Ewing Street) in Rockford. Rockford is located just north of Seymour’s city limit. Look for SICA’s sign on the west side of the highway across from the little white Methodist church.
If you are driving on I-65, use the Seymour-Jonesville exit (exit #55). Drive south on Highway 11 approximately three miles. After you cross the White River you will come to a stop light. Just after the stop light start looking to the right for the SICA sign. If you pass the “Welcome to Seymour” sign, you have gone too far!
We love visitors, so please stop by! You are always welcome at SICA!
2001 N Ewing St
Seymour, IN 47274
*For directions, please click on our Contact page.
The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts was the idea of recording artist John Mellencamp and his mother Marilyn. Through John’s generosity the Center has established itself as a regional center for the visual, performing, and artisan arts.
The house in which the Art Center is located is owned by John and is leased to The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, Inc. The law requires SICA to pay John $1 for rent every two years. The house is a beautiful 1851 Greek revivalist style brick mansion with Italianate details on the porches. It sits on a hill overlooking the White River. Built before the beginning of the Civil War, and before Seymour was established, the house stands as a tribute to the craftsmanship of the day.
The house was owned by the Dr. Ripley family during John’s youth. John spent much time at the house as a friend of Mark Ripley, their son. When the house was put up for sale, John could not let it go to just anybody. He purchased it and shortly after, used the house as the headquarters during the filming of the movie Falling from Grace.
When the movie was completed, John’s idea of an art center evolved. John’s mother Marilyn was an avid painter and John had taken up painting. Both of them had talked about the area needing an art center. John’s parents also felt the need for such a center since there was nothing in the surrounding area in which they could have taken their children. The Mellencamps met with community leaders and artists and in 1991 SICA was formed.
It is John’s desire that the Art Center not be a Mellencamp thing. He furnishes the house and property with the philosophy that if the region wants an art center then the community will support it. To help SICA with fundraising, John autographs posters and guitars which are sold to support the Art Center. He also allows the Center to have one room reserved to exhibit his paintings. Posters have been created out of three of John’s paintings. The Art Center is the exclusive outlet for these prints and they are sold both signed and unsigned by John.
John’s fans, usually known as the “Mellenheads,” regard the Art Center as a Mecca. They have gathered here on occasions by the hundreds to socialize and enjoy live entertainment. Since many have visited here and realize the importance of the work we do here , they have taken on areas to finance and support. They have financed electrical work and two potter’s wheels in the Pottery Barn. They have purchased the light fixtures in the Antique Print Shop Museum and are presently financing the Minutes to Memories Garden dedicated in memory of John’s Grandmother. Through John’s fan club several thousands of dollars has been raised and continues to be donated. The main contact with the fans is on the internet through John’s fan club website. Through this outlet, the Art Center is known throughout the world and fans from as far away as Australia, Europe and South Africa have visited.