John Mellencamp and The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts
Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is the idea of John Mellencamp, and through his generosity the Center has established itself as a regional center for the fine, performing, culinary, architectural, literary and artisan arts.
The house, in which the Art Center is quartered, is owned by John and is leased to The Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, Inc. The law requires $1.00 for a two-year lease. We think that is reasonable. The house is a beautiful 1851 brick mansion sitting upon 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, the son. (He has some wild stories about those days). 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 had taken up painting as an outlet and felt that the area needed 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. Through them, a proposal was made and a committee was formed. The final agreement came about in 1991.
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, it will support it.