Minutes to Memories Garden

It all started when the Antique Print Shop Museum was built. This changed the landscaping on the north side of the Art Center which required retaining walls to hold back the sloping hillside.

Since the budget did not include this expense, Don, the Associate Director, contacted the Mellenheads (John Mellencamp Fans) on the Internet and informed them of the problem. They immediately organized a raffle by donating some of their extra “Mellen-o-billia.” The Art Center furnished signed posters and other items. The raffle brought enough money to pay for the block retaining walls.

Shortly after this raffle, John’s Grandmother died. Grandma Laura, as the fans knew her, was well liked by them all. Grandma Laura often attended concerts and loved to talk to the fans. Fans would often visit her when they came to Seymour. She also loved to come out to the Art Center to visit. The Mellenheads asked if they took up a donation, if we would put a memorial plaque somewhere in memory of Grandma Laura. The donation soon reached more than $1,400. With this money we bought the memorial plaque and purchased a metal love seat to mount it on. There was also a dogwood tree and lilac bush planted. A bird bath (with birds), and the “Minutes to Memories Garden” plaque was put in place. The fans themselves had voted on the Internet as to the name of the garden.

Later, there were raffles and items sold at the Small Town Festival, enough to purchase a four-tier fountain to sit at the top of the hill. Other fans donated monies to purchase the split-rail fence. Another sent twelve red rose bushes. Little by little, the Minutes to Memories Garden took shape. Don waded the creeks of one of our Art Center members to build a stone wall and lay a stone walkway through the garden. Stone steps lead up the hillside.

One of our Art Center members, Nate Montgomery, constructed a wire sculpture, entitled, “The Guitar Man” and was placed in the garden.

One of our beloved Mellenheads died of cancer. She had been to the Mellenfests and fell in love with the Art Center. Six yellow rose bushes were planted in memory of Gerri Hess from Texas. Later, another young Mellenhead, Cabrina, who had attended Mellenfests with her two small children also died of cancer. Flowers were planted in front of the Don Hill Amphitheater stage in memory of her.

In the Fall of 2005, a landscaper was hired to plant the main flower bed. This came up for the first time in the Spring of 2006. Beautiful daffodils, shrubs, lilies and other plants now covered the hillside.

Monies continue to come in from various projects done by Mellenheads. Their monies have been used to purchase tools and equipment to maintain the garden. Each Spring new plants are purchased along with mulch, fertilizer, and other needed materials to keep the garden beautiful. Don, his wife Mary, and other friends work daily to weed, water, mow and keep the Minutes to Memories Garden a site where Mellenheads can take pride in knowing they support a beautiful memorial garden, one of their own.

Dozens of Mellenheads cut the ribbon dedicating the Garden in 2003.


SICA: Minutes to Memories Garden Donations

Donations can be made throughout the year by using the PayPal link below, or by mail or  by stopping in at the center to make a visit and donation!

Just click the “Donate” button to make your contribution!

Thank you for your donation !





Southern Indiana Center For The Arts