A nationally acclaimed visual and performing arts complex in downtown Sheboygan, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is devoted to innovative explorations in contemporary American art. Its exhibitions focus on a wide range of art forms, with particular emphasis on sculpture, photography, crafts, new genres, installation art, ongoing folk traditions, and the work of self-taught artists. The performing arts emphasize dance, music, and theatre performances from around the world. The connecting communities program collaborates with community partners to bring together artists with the public to create powerful, original works of art. Programming also includes a renowned Arts/Industry residency program, classes, and special events.
Up to sixteen exceptional artists from around the world are chosen each year for two- to six-month residencies in the Pottery or Iron/Brass Foundry and Enamel shop in Kohler Co.'s Kohler, Wisconsin, plant. With the guidance of an excellent staff, artists of all disciplines can explore new ideas and technologies in order to create a body of work impossible in their own studio as well as new ways of thinking and working. Previous experience with clay or metal sculpture is not required.
Artists accepted into the program receive housing, transportation, materials, use of equipment, studio space, photography services, and a small stipend. Artists-in-residence may work in the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries, and Enamel Shop to develop a wide variety of work in clay, enameled cast iron, and brass including but not limited to murals and reliefs, temporary or permanent site-specific installations, and functional and sculptural forms.
Arts/Industry provides housing in a duplex close to the Factory campus. Each artist has their own private bedroom with shared kitchen, bath, and living room.
The Pottery is warm and humid year-round to provide consistent casting results. Each studio space is approximately 20’ x 20’. The studios are not private—they do not have walls or locking doors. The Foundry artist studio is approximately 3,000 sq. ft. and contains metalworking and woodworking spaces, a tool room, and personal space for two artists and a technician. Each artist receives approximately 300 sq. ft. to use as their personal studio. Artists-in-residence are given studio space in the factory that generally is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Arts/Industry provides a full-time studio technician in both the Pottery and Foundry. The technician’s role is to teach and train artists to independently work in the Factory on their project goals.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is a town of 50,000 people on the shore of Lake Michigan. The Village of Kohler has a population of 2,000 and consists primarily of the Kohler Co. Factory, shops, and restaurants.
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