Mellencamp to perform, donate art for SICA fundraiser

Southern Indiana Center for the Arts has announced the return of its Artful Affair gala fundraiser.

The not-for-profit organization’s event Sept. 17 at Chateau de Pique Winery and Brewery in Seymour will feature a special acoustic performance by Seymour native and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp.

Plus, there will be live music from Lilly & Madeleine, a folk pop duo from Indianapolis, along with an art auction and refreshments.

“After two years of COVID prohibiting us from having this event, which is our primary fundraiser, we are thrilled to bring it back and better than before,” said Speck Mellencamp, who is executive director of the Seymour-based arts center and one of John Mellencamp’s sons.

Tickets became available to SICA members on Saturday, and the general public may buy tickets now. A limited number of VIP meet-and-greet tickets are available for $250, general admission tickets for members are $150 and nonmembers’ tickets are $175.

They may be purchased online through Eventbrite at

Doors will open at 6 p.m. at the winery, 6361 N. County Road 760E. The art auction will feature works by Marvin Cherney, Alexander Winch, Silas Cheo, Speck Mellencamp and John Mellencamp.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating 30 years of SICA and raising money for a great cause,” Speck said. “This will definitely be a special event that you don’t want to miss.”

According to newspaper archives, the fundraiser began as An Artful Affair in 1994. That year, $10,000 was raised to help support the center, and 160 people attended.

John Mellencamp, who owns the 1851 two-story brick mansion that houses SICA at 2001 N. Ewing St., contributed one of his original paintings and an autographed poster, which raised more than $1,800 in the auction.

In the inaugural year and those that followed through 2014, the fundraiser was held at The Pines Evergreen Room south of Seymour. Mellencamp continued to donate autographed guitars and other memorabilia for the fundraiser.

Then the event returned in 2019 but didn’t occur in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mellencamp recently announced he is recording his 26th studio album at Bellmont Mall Recording Studio in Bloomington and is planning for a 2023 release.

His first album, “Chestnut Street Incident,” was released by MCA Records in 1976. After releasing a few albums, he broke out in 1979 with his first hit, “I Need a Lover.” Three years later, his fifth album, “American Fool,” was the year’s best-selling album with two big hits, “Hurts So Good” and the No. 1 single “Jack and Diane.”

In 1985, he helped launch Farm Aid to benefit American farmers, and in 1992, he made his film debut starring in and directing “Falling From Grace,” much of which was filmed in and around Seymour.

Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.

Besides music and acting, Mellencamp is a celebrated painter, thus his longtime interest in the arts center in his hometown.

SICA was founded in 1991 to provide art education and enjoyment to the surrounding communities, both in a gallery and studio environment.

The gallery is open from 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

For information about the arts center, visit and like/follow SICA on Facebook and Instagram.

For information about Artful Affair, email [email protected].