Arts center seeks rescue through financial support

A local nonprofit organization that has been bringing the arts to Seymour and surrounding communities for more than 25 years is at risk of having to close its doors.

Operated by a volunteer board of directors and volunteer director, Southern Indiana Center for the Arts is housed in an 1851 two-story brick mansion owned by recording artist John Mellencamp, who leases the house and property to SICA for $1 every two years.

Due to a lack of funding, however, the center might be forced to close in the near future.

In an effort to save it, a Save Our SICA fundraiser has been set for 6 to 11 p.m. Nov. 4 at The Pines Evergreen Room south of Seymour.

Tickets are $60 per person or $450 for a table of eight. There also is an opportunity to join the exclusive Yacht Club for $1,000 and be treated to a bottle of wine for the table and a commemorative wine glass and a beach towel for each member of the group, plus some extra goodies.

Individual tickets or tables may be purchased through the SICA office at 812-522-2278 or [email protected].

The goal is to keep the programs going and not have to cut back or do away with any of the activities the arts center provides, said Jane Hays, a member of the center’s board.

“There will be a dinner, entertainment and music at the fundraiser featuring the Indy Hula Polynesian dancers, along with Eddie and the Mai Tais band,” Hays said. “The band is all of Hawaiian descent, so they will be performing some traditional Hawaiian music, which is something a lot of people might not have experienced, so we are excited about that.”

Two original art pieces will be auctioned off at the event. One of those is an art piece from Maureen O’Hara Pesta of Vallonia, while the second is a photo of the arts center taken by Eric DiBlasi Jr. of Seymour.

There also will be art-related items for sale made by arts center members and people that go there for classes, Hays said.

“We are doing a lucky duck drawing at the event for $100 apiece, and only 100 will be sold that night,” Hays said. “Two winners will be randomly selected from among those purchasing a duck. Prizes are a week’s stay in the Florida Keys or a guitar signed by John Mellencamp.”

For those wishing to help at the event, volunteers are needed to help with the items that will be for sale, a game that will be played and a variety of other things.

“If there are conflicts and people cannot attend but would like to make a donation, they can call the arts center or email us,” Hays said. “We can take any kind of donation they’re willing to give as far as operational costs and things like that.”

Save Our SICA will be a good way to get people out and have a good time while spreading the word about the arts center’s situation, Hays said.

“The event will have a Hawaiian and Polynesian theme throughout the evening,” Hays said. “There will be some life preservers included in the decorations to go along with the SOS call for help.”

The board also is reaching out to area businesses for their support, and the organization is looking for potential board members and volunteers.

“At this point, our focus is to be able to continue to offer the classes that we have always offered, along with exhibits, art camp and things like that,” Hays said. “The fundraiser is going to be able to keep all of that going the way it always has been.”

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What: “SOS” Save Our SICA fundraiser

When: 6 to 11 p.m. Nov. 4

Where: The Pines Evergreen Room, 4120 U.S. 31 south of Seymour

Cost: $60 per person, $450 for a table of eight, $1,000 for Yacht Club

Information: 812-522-2278, [email protected],