Program areas at JMKAC
Visual Arts: the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Inc. ("jmkac or "Arts Center") staff annually originate 12-22 curated exhibitions that are part of one to three broad themes exploring relevant issues in contemporary art emphasizing installation works, new genres, craft-related forms, communally transmitted traditions, and the work of self-taught artists. The collection of over 10,000 works by self-taught and folk artists is world-renowned for the preservation of the works of artist-environment builders. These exceptional and multifaceted works of art result from individuals significantly transforming their surroundings over time with readily available materials.in 2019, jmkac hosted over 10,000 gallery visitors and curated 14 exhibitions.two broad overarching themes inspired many of these exhibitions:mise en scene: a series of four exhibitions featuring contemporary art and installations that approached the world as a stage. The four exhibitions included:-the autotopographers with work by joanne bittle, sarah braman, beatriz cortez, iris yirei hu, benjamin larose, azikiwe mohammed, yoshie sakai, becky suss, and ray yoshida-b-side of the moon: scott reeder-visionary reality outpost: saya woolfalk-collective consciousness: mark baumlenore tawney: mirror of the universe: lenore tawney: mirror of the universe, reflected the Arts Center's unique approach to curatorial work that is based in a deep level of collaboration with thought leaders, academics, and other institutions. The four exhibitions in the series offered a rich examination of the life and work of tawney (1907-2007), who ranks among the most influential, though under recognized, artists of the postwar fiber movement. Critical to the success of this series was our collaboration with the lenore g. tawney foundation, which supported the exhibition and production of the related catalogue with works of art, scholarship, archival materials, and financial contributions. In addition to the above series, the following exhibitions were on view in 2019 as well:mary nohl and the walrus club: an exhibition of new work by eight artists responding to Wisconsin artist mary nohl was on view for an entire year, featuring cecelia condit, sheila held, robin jebavy, anne kingsbury, sarah luther, kim miller, maggie sasso, and sonja thomsen, and works by mary nohl from the Arts Center's collection.apartment 4: combining the visual language of historic house museum with the experimental approach of fictional biography, this exhibition explored the life of florence hasard, a character developed by conceptual artist iris haussler. Apartment 4, was realized through many months of collaborative brainstorming and research among the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the chipstone foundation and haussler. The immersive, site-specific installation presented delicately complex details in each room, articulating the complex story of florence's life. Why did she choose to live the way that she did? What does her domestic living space reveal about who she was? What does looking closely at objects reveal about someone's life? Apartment 4 presented the subtleties of hasard's life through the objects she left behind.youth art month: the John Michael Kohler Arts Center was pleased to present the thirty-third annual youth art month. This exhibition celebrated the multifaceted talents and artistic achievements of sheboygan county's youth while recognizing and applauding the devoted art educators who encourage and guide these young artists. The works in this gallery, created during the 2018-2019 school year by students enrolled in kindergarten through high school, were chosen by art teachers throughout the county. Students were encouraged to consider drawing inspiration from the Arts Center's exhibitions through processes such as painting, sketching, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, and photography. Created from a variety of materials, these works ranged from exuberant to introspective.preschool perspectives: room at the table: this exhibition featured artwork created by the sixty-nine children age three to five enrolled in the Arts Center preschool. This annual exhibition displayed the intersection of art and learning. 2019's theme, room at the table, highlighted the importance of working with young children on the concepts of having an open heart and mind; listening; welcoming many ideas and perspectives to the table; treating our neighbors with respect; and caring for the people, animals, and environment of our planet. The creativity of our young children shines a light on a bright future.beauty surplus: serra victoria bothwell fels is an artist from brooklyn, new york. Her exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, beauty surplus, imagined how our world might be different if we worked together more, looked for new possibilities, believed in a bit of magic, and were kind to one another. Beauty surplus is site-specific. Serra altered the rooms of the Arts Center's house gallery with artworks specifically designed for the space that were inspired by the natural environment. Cavern-like ceilings, mysterious ceramic growths, walls with holes, and cloud-like structures transformed the galleries. Beauty surplus was the second year of the Arts Center's open house project, which asks artists to create art in the rooms of the historic John Michael Kohler home.dr. Charles smith: aurora: includes 150 of dr. smith's sculptures, the largest presentation of his work to date. It offers an unprecedented experience of the works from his artist-built environment. In addition, the exhibition is a preview of how the collection will be installed in the art preserve when it opens in 2021, and it serves as a laboratory for the Arts Center to learn more about the works.since february 2016 ruth Kohler has taken on the role and responsibilities of director of strategic initiatives with one of her emphases focusing on the creation of the art preserve, a state of the art facility that will house the Arts Center's artist-built environments. Construction of the art preserve started in april 2018 and is expected to be open to the public mid year 2021.
Performing Arts: performing Arts offers a wide array of programming for all ages including the levitt amp summer music series, indie lens pop-up film showings, pop-up concerts, senior honor recital, performing Arts residencies featuring local, national, and international artists, and the midsummer festival of the Arts concerts. These programs served over 20,500 patrons with 49 performances.
Education: education efforts deepen the impact of other programs through docent-led tours using visual thinking strategies (vts), a facilitated discussion approach that develops critical thinking, communication, and visual literacy skills; an arts-based preschool; classes; introductory videos for exhibitions; lectures; festivals; and programs for schools, universities, daycare centers, shelters, persons with disabilities, the elderly, persons with dementia and their caregivers, and more. In 2019, the Arts Center offered 44 classes and camps for 1,306 participants. In addition, the education department led 148 tour groups for over 5,400 visitors, primarily students. The arts-based preschool for 3-to-5-year-olds educated 148 students.