Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, the proudest Hoosier in rock, plans to donate his archives to Indiana University, the institution announced Friday during a Mellencamp Symposium being held on campus.
Mellencamp’s association with the university continues to grow. The future archive was just one of several developments discussed in the Friday symposium, which included a live interview with the musician as well as talks and panels “that brought academic scholars, music industry leaders, journalists and more to campus for a deep dive into the cultural and social impact of Mellencamp’s vast oeuvre,” according to IU.
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A sculpture is being commissioned for the Bloomington campus, which will be placed near the Fine Arts Plaza “and will symbolize the strong connection Mellencamp has to his southern Indiana roots.”
Mellencamp’s activity as a painter will be celebrated in an exhibition at the university’s Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art during the 2023-24 academic year.
His fondness for the university extends beyond honors and symposiums, as he proved by recently kicking off his 2023 tour on the campus.
“John’s impact on music and American culture is immense,” said IU president Pamela Whitten in a statement. “On behalf of Hoosiers everywhere, I am exceptionally proud of John’s lifelong association with IU and deeply grateful to him for selecting the university as the permanent home for his archives. His collection will be an incredible resource for arts scholars and a clear source of inspiration to our students. We are thrilled to honor him and celebrate his many contributions to music, art and IU.”
Mellencamp begain painting in 1980, not very long into his musical career. About 170 of his pieces were assembled recently in a coffee table art book titled “John Mellencamp: American Paintings and Assemblages.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s most recent album, “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack,” was released last year.
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