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A landscape painting by the late Marilyn Mellencamp is displayed in Seymour, Ind., Friday, July 6, 2012. An art exhibit with fifty of her paintings and concert planned Saturday, July 14, at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour will honor Mellencamp's artwork and benefit a scholarship program developed to assist Seymour High School seniors interested in pursuing the arts. (AP Photo/The Tribune, Aaron Piper)
SEYMOUR — The name “Mellencamp” evokes thoughts of guitars, “heartland rock” and youngsters named Jack and Diane.
But there’s more than music in the artistry of John Mellencamp and his family, much of which can be seen in Jackson County, including Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour. The center resides on land owned by John Mellencamp.
After the passing of his mother, Marilyn Mellencamp, earlier this year, Jackson County will see another gift. In her honor, the family is sponsoring a scholarship for Seymour High School seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in the arts.
To help finance the scholarship, an art show and free concert are scheduled at the center from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, where Community Foundation of Jackson County will take donations for the new scholarship.
Marilyn was an avid painter and studied with many well-known artists.
Fifty of her paintings will be on display throughout the event inside the art show on Saturday.
Marilyn is the Mellencamp who really pushed to create the arts center.
“She’s why we exist,” executive director Warren Baumgart Jr. said. “For the family to be committed even after Marilyn is not with us is important to the center.”
Marilyn not only was an accomplished artist herself, but she had always been a passionate supporter for the arts, Baumgart said.
“It was Marilyn’s love for painting that prompted John’s interest in art as well,” he added.
“Marilyn’s family has collected close to 50 of the best paintings by Marilyn,” Baumgart said.
“It will be an incredible opportunity to see the scope of Marilyn Mellencamp’s talent as a gifted artist all in one place.”
The Marilyn Mellencamp exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibit will remain at SICA throughout July.
Her daughter, Janet Kiel of Seymour, said it was her father’s idea to have a show of Marilyn’s work, and the idea for the scholarship grew from there.
The scholarship is for any Seymour High School senior looking to pursue music, art or drama as a career. There is no financial need or academic requirement for the scholarship.
The fund will be managed through Community Foundation of Jackson County, and a board will choose the recipient. The first will be awarded in 2013.
Kiel said the family hopes to find someone who is exceptionally talented in the arts.
Baumgart said it is hard for people to make a career in the arts, and encouragement of this kind is great for kids in Jackson County.
“There is a lot more money for students pursuing engineering or law,” Baumgart said. “To single out students wanting to major in the arts is incredible.”
The event will take place from 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and will feature an opening reception from 1 to 4 p.m., a showing of Marilyn’s art from 1 to 9 p.m. and a free concert featuring Brent James & The Contraband from 6 to 11 p.m.
Musical guests will include David Campbell, Mike Gerth, Kenny Parks and John Whitcomb. Brent James & The Contraband is scheduled to take the stage around 9 p.m. This is an outdoor event, and the audience is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit near the Don Hill Stage.
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