Mission and History
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a not-for-profit organization established in 1967 for aesthetic and educational purposes. Its mission is to encourage and support innovative explorations in the arts and to foster an exchange between a national community of artists and a broad public that will help realize the power of the arts to inspire and transform our world. The Arts Center serves as laboratory for the creation of new works, nurturer of interdisciplinary initiatives, originator of exhibitions, presenter and producer of performing arts, educator, publisher of critical writings, community builder, and advocate for issues affecting the arts. In essence, JMKAC functions as a catalyst for and explorer of new art forms and new ideas that will impact the lives of both artists and public.
(left to right) John Michael Kohler Arts Center 1969; John Michael Kohler Arts Center 2005;.
A major focus of the program shall be exhibitions devoted to a wide range of concepts and directions in contemporary art, with particular consideration of craft-related forms, installation works, photography, new genres, ongoing cultural traditions, and the work of self-taught artists. The exhibitions shall encourage the creation of new work and shall involve substantive critical explorations.
The performing arts shall emphasize new directions as well as continuing and evolving cultural traditions in dance, theatre, music, and interdisciplinary forms through programming that brings together artists from around the world with diverse regional audiences.
The Connecting Communities program shall collaborate with community partners to involve outstanding artists with area cultural communities and a wide range of constituencies with special needs in the creation of powerful original works of art and, in the process, to aid in uniting and strengthening the community and the region.
In cooperation with American business, Arts/Industry shall provide support for artists in the creation of new work and in the investigation of new ways of thinking and making art, through long-term residencies and other programming at manufacturing sites. At the same time, Arts/Industry shall involve the industrial community and other audiences with the artists and their work.
The collections shall be of significance to the Arts Center's program and constituencies, concentrating primarily on the work of self-taught artists, ongoing cultural traditions, and works created in Arts/Industry. They shall be used in on-site and touring exhibitions as well as in research and education.
Education shall be a fundamental tenet of all programming. Educational and interpretive services shall relate directly to the exhibitions, collections, performing arts programming, Connecting Communities, and Arts/Industry, as well as to the Arts Center‘s architecture and gardens. They shall employ the integration of the arts as a primary educational tool. Such services may take the form of artists‘ residencies; an arts-based preschool, classes, and camps; festivals and other special events; scholarly publications; guided tours, lectures, and demonstrations; resource center; retail shops; programming for constituencies with special needs such as schools, universities, daycare centers, English-language-learner programs, shelters, and children and adults with disabilities; and/or any other means that encourage a continuing dialogue between artists and public and heighten their understanding of and sensitivity to all the arts.
Directions, Parking, Admission, and Hours
The Sheboygan/Kohler area is situated along Interstate 43 in east central Wisconsin. Sheboygan is located one hour north of Milwaukee (60 miles), one hour south of Green Bay (60 miles) and two hours north of Chicago (140 miles).
Directions to the Arts Center:
Exit I-43 (Exit 126) onto Highway 23 East, which becomes Kohler Memorial Drive and then Erie Avenue. Continue east to Sixth Street, turn right, and follow Sixth Street four blocks south to New York Avenue. Turn right on New York Avenue. The entrance to the Arts Center is located on New York Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Streets.
608 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081
FREE parking lot across the street on the south side of New York Avenue.
Admission to the Arts Center is by voluntary donation.
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center and both ARTspace shops are fully accessible to those with disabilities. A wheelchair is available at the Arts Center.
Arts Center Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Arts Center is Closed:
- Easter Sunday
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Eve-Dec 24
- Christmas Day-Dec 25
- New Year's Eve-Dec 31
- New Year's Day-Jan 1