John Michael Kohler Arts Center
About John Michael Kohler Arts Center
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in downtown Sheboygan includes eight galleries, two performance spaces, a café with additional children's menu, a museum shop with a wide variety of souvenirs and even children's toys, and a drop-in art-making studio. Among its program offerings are community arts projects; artist residencies; presentations of dance, film, and music; a free weekly summer concert series; classes and workshops; an onsite arts-based preschool; and approximately twelve original exhibitions of the work of self-taught and contemporary artists annually.
Even the bathrooms at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center are art installations and they have won national awards! The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is free to visit with free parking and free access to the social art studio.
About the Art Preserve
John Michael Kohler Arts Centers' Art Preserve is an experimental space, housing over thirty-five artist-built environments. A walk through the building provides a variety of display methods; some collections are meant to feel overwhelming while others are intended to be immersive and transportive.
You may wonder, what is an artist-built environment?
This term describes a unique form of art making that significantly transforms a space. These artist-built environments are site-specific and may include sculpture, painting, found objects, among other forms. At the Art Preserve, these artist-built environments are presented together, if possible, to evoke the integral qualities of the original site.
The Art Preserve building itself is a work of art and a must-see when visiting Sheboygan, WI! It spans approximately 56,000 square feet, over three stories, and including more than 37,000 square feet of dedicated gallery space with visible storage, education area, library, a study collection, and archive room. The Art Preserve sits on 38 acres adjacent to protected property owned by Glacial Lakes Conservancy.
Exhibits & Events at John Michael Kohler Arts Center
As part of the Considering Kin theme, the seven cast-concrete figures in Rose B. Simpson’s Counterculture are witnesses—reminders that the natural world is continuously watching humanity. Despite their over ten foot height, the feminine-bodied forms show grace in their vigilance and space taking, carrying necklaces made of ceramic beads instead of taking up weapons.
Artist Bea Fremderman collects discarded detritus from a New York shoreline. She chooses materials from a retired landfill on Dead Horse Bay and assembles her gatherings using a technique similar to that used to make Tiffany lamps.
As part of the Considering Kin theme, on the first floor of the Art Preserve, a grouping of Fremderman’s sculptures will be installed alongside works of artists from the John Michael Kohler Art Center’s collection by grotto-inspired makers Jacob Baker and Madeline Buol.
Considering Kin is a series of exhibitions and public programs exploring the myriad facets of kinship. The series appraises the prismatic potential of kinship as an intentional process, a mindful act of nurturing and restorative care that fosters feelings of belonging as we move through the world. Inherently inclusive, kinship is the enactment of empathy and respect for all living things.
Indigeneity—a state of being Indigenous and originating from a specific place; encompassing displaced minorities whose ancestral homelands have been lost due to colonialism, yet preserved in the continuity of cultures, identities, and kinship.
HMong Indigeneity lives in textiles: vibrant, breathing pieces of cloth shaped by HMong hands to illustrate ancestral landmarks and homelands. Here, lines converge to form patterns and an aesthetic of kin that replace teb chaws—land, country, and place—as pathways for Indigeneity to reside.
Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 18, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.
Liberty City, Miami, is home to one of the oldest segregated public housing projects in the United States. Now with rising sea levels, the neighborhood’s higher ground has become something else: real estate gold.
Total Run Time: 60 minutes
Independent Lens premiere: Monday, January 29
Join us in the Social STUDIO with artist Sunny Leerasanthanah and artist-theorist and historian, Jill H. Casid. Leerasanthanah’s work is featured in the solo exhibition Sunny Leerasanthanah: Naturalization, on view at JMKAC through January 28, 2024.
Leerasanthanah and Casid will lead a conversation focused on the short story “The Bad Graft” by Karen Russell, published in the June 9 and 16, 2014, issues of The New Yorker and in Russell’s collection of short stories, titled Orange World. In the story, a Joshua tree takes root in a woman’s body after she is accidentally pricked. The themes in the story parallel those in Leerasanthanah’s exhibition regarding national park boundaries, interspecies relationships (or as described in the short story, an “erotic interspecies incursion”), possession of land and body, and descriptions that evoke alien invasion and body snatcher tropes. The conversation will be guided toward Leerasanthanah’s and Casid’s larger interests in queer ecologies and chimera.
If you do not have a subscription to The New Yorker, the website for the publication allows one free article per month for nonsubscribers. The short story is also published in the book Orange World, available through public libraries.
General Admission Seating, Arts Center Matrix
Tickets $20 Member/ $25 Public
“a luscious multimedia adaptation [that] came alive when the different groupings were woven together, creating a quilt of varied textures. The styles didn’t feel disparate, but rather melded and blurred together in delicious cohesion.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
Featuring ten dancers, this reimagining of Italo Calvino’s metaphysical novel interweaves cultural perspectives through a dynamic group of lead artists who work in different movement styles—Ashwini Ramaswamy with Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy (Bharatanatyam), Berit Ahlgren (Gaga), Alanna Morris (Modern/Afro Diasporic), Joseph Tran (Breaking)—and visual artist Kevork Mourad.
Invisible Cities is a generative pilgrimage that expresses Ramaswamy’s lifelong desire to coalesce her specific artistic and cultural aesthetic as a Bharatanatyam artist with the dynamic universe of other embodied traditions and communities.
The performance extends beyond the kinetic realm with Mourad’s interactive, immersively projected illlustrations, which harmonize art, music, and movement. Both haunting and hopeful, ethereal and full of depth, Mourad’s visual architectures provide a dynamic and unpredictable dimension to the artists’ examination of the way the built environment and human life interact.
With Invisible Cities, Ramaswamy deepens a choreographic method she began in 2019 with Let the Crows Come, which was named a “Best of the Year” in The Washington Post and a critic’s pick in The New York Times.
JMKAC’s CAFE will be open before the show.
Duration: approximately 75 minutes, no intermission
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.
Frustrated by the lack of representation in the media, a group of women and LGBTQ+ journalists launched The 19th*, a digital news startup whose work is guided by elevating the voices often left out of the American story.
Total Run Time: 60 minutes
Independent Lens premiere: Monday, February 19
Meet us in the Social STUDIO for a discussion of John Green’s essay, “Teddy Bears.” This essay is the inspiration for the open-call exhibition Home is a Teddy Bear. For this exhibition, JMKAC members and Wisconsin residents living within 125 miles of the Arts Center were invited to submit an object, artwork, or short story that feels like home.
Writer and librarian Richie Zaborowske will lead the discussion and invite conversation about objects, songs, stories, movies, and photographs that hold feelings of connection and belonging.
Before our gathering, you can read “Teddy Bears” by John Green here.
Find more information about Home is a Teddy Bear.
Wednesday, March 13, 2024 | 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 14, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.
Three people—a political cartoonist, a mother turned boxing coach, and an optician—navigate their lives with resourcefulness and determination in the face of a degenerative illness, Parkinson’s disease.
Total Run Time: 60 minutes
Independent Lens premiere: Monday, April 8
Wednesday, May 8, 2024 | 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 9, 2024 | 6:30 p.m.
Between 2011 and 2013, tubas were stolen from high schools across Southern California. Against this backdrop, hard of hearing filmmaker Alison O’Daniel generates new sensitivity to sound and meaning in an unconventional documentary experience.
Total Run Time: TBD
Independent Lens premiere: Monday, May 20
Contact John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Just 4 minutes from Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI.
ARTS CENTER: 608 New York Avenue | Sheboygan, WI 53801
Just 7 minutes from Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI.
ART PRESERVE: 3636 Lower Falls Road | Sheboygan, WI 53081