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Visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

An incredible museum with even more incredible public washroom, it is really worth the trip

Visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
John Michael Kohler Arts Center washroom art photo by Jodi Emmer

If you ever get up to Sheboygan, Wisconsin you will have the opportunity to visit one of the most unusual museums there is in this Country.  The John Michael Kohler Arts center is an ever changing, unique and stylish, beautiful museum with several exhibits that are on display for your artistic enjoyment.

In realization it is mid-January and the average temperature in Sheboygan is a lovely 7 degrees Fahrenheit.  However, there is of course heat in the museum.

Some of the exhibits on display are collaboration oriented with some getting an entire community of 300 individuals to all participate in one art exhibit.  Viewing the past exhibit archive is most impressive with so much talent having passed through Sheboygan over the years.

 Currently, there is a very gifted art exhibit on display until late January of 2014.  Ray Yoshida’s museum of extraordinary values will be displaying five exhibits that were created under the series title “The Open Eye.”  Ray Yoshida taught at The Art Institute of Chicago for over forty years.  His home environment was rife with passionate art from all over the world.   Some say it resembled a kaleidoscope montage of artifacts, objects and works of art that he collected for years.  He would encourage visitors to come into his home and then to develop new and fascinating perspectives and to design new interpretations of the art he had assembled over the years.

After Yoshida’s death in 2009, The John Michael Kohler Arts Center received Yoshida’s entire home collection of more than 2600 works of art that Yoshida had collected during his lifetime.

In Late January there will be an event at The Arts Center called “Heroes and Villains” and its sole purpose will be to raise funds for future exhibits at The Arts Center.  There will be a live and silent auction to offer items such as, Dinner at The American Club which is a four star resort also in Sheboygan, A weekend spa getaway, A private murder mystery experience that will be catered by Black Pig.

Coming up in February will be the youth art exhibit at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center.  Every artist no matter how young or wherever they may be schooled will have a chance to enter their work and be recognized for their talent at The Arts Center.

Also coming in February Joseph Yoakum (1890-1972) will have his work on display in the exhibit “Unfolding Landscapes.”  His drawings and paintings were all done with pen, pencil, colored pencils, pastels, chalk and watercolors.  Yoakum produced over 2000 drawings during his short art career and he was self-taught.

However, it is the public washrooms that are the most eye-catching of all the exhibits to date within the Arts Center.  These washrooms truly display and epitomize the artistic talent and freedom within this decade’s long collaboration between art and industry as conceived by Director Ruth Kohler in 1974.  Her splendid vision gave birth to initiating artistic exploration and experimentation with the design of six washrooms in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Permanently installing works of art that would be created and continually on display in the public washrooms, to inspire, and to teach, for all to see for the entire life of The Arts Center was a brilliant idea, and the attention is phenomenal.

The public washroom art represents a new concept in display of art and it goes beyond all limits and barriers of what we call art today.


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