In the land of cheese, beer, and bratwurst — the city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin — is a striking new building meant for art lovers far and wide. Settled into the hillside, its towering timbers and irregular footprint are just the beginning of the creative environments found at the Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
Visitors can wander through Nek Chand’s imagined kingdom of “immortal beings,” find inspiration in the kinetic assemblages in Emery Blagdon’s shed, and get lost in the details of Stella Waitzkin’s unreadable library of cast-resin books. These immersive exhibitions within the Art Preserve are only a few of the large-scale installations and curated displays of works from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s world-renowned collection of artist-built environments — places that have been significantly transformed by an artist to embody and express aspects of their history, place, and culture as well as their ideas and imagination.
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As the world’s first museum dedicated to art environments, the Art Preserve provides a new kind of museum experience. The doors are now open and ready for visitors to explore works by more than 30 vernacular, self-taught, and academically trained artists, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s role as an institutional steward.
Watch interviews with John Michael Kohler Arts Center Director Sam Gappmayer and Associate Director Amy Horst as they discuss the origins of the Art Preserve and the planning process behind this unique facility.
Admission is free to the Art Preserve, which is located at 3636 Lower Falls Road in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
To plan a visit and learn more about the artists and their environments, see artpreserve.org.