John Michael Kohler Arts Center
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.
For more than 40 years, the Arts/Industry residency program has been connecting artists with the resources, technology, and materials of Kohler Co., and providing a place to explore new ideas, processes, and perspectives. Artists from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Each year, up to 12 artists are selected for residencies in the Pottery or Foundry areas of the factory through a competitive jury process.
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. No experience with clay or cast metal is required, just an interest in pursuing a new body of work and being open to new ideas.
Arts/Industry residencies are 3 months in length and divided into 3 cohorts. There are 4 artists-in-residence in each cohort - 2 in Pottery and 2 in Foundry. Residents are expected to commit to the full 3-month period. Artists-in-residence receive 24-hour access to studio space, industrial materials, use of equipment, technical assistance, photographic services, housing, round-trip transportation, and a modest weekly stipend.
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 housing in a duplex close to the Factory campus. Each artist has their own private bedroom with shared kitchen, bath, and living room.
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.