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Design makes the difference at John Michael Kohler Arts Center

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center opened a $13 million addition in 1999, tripling its space to showcase visual and performing arts, with ten galleries, a theater, performance spaces, studio-classrooms, and rotating exhibitions of contemporary work by international and emerging talent.

With more than 20,000 individual pieces of art, the collection focuses primarily on works by artist-environment builders, self-taught and folk artists, and works developed in its residency program. The art center is also known for its artist-created public toilets, which cultural historian Barbara Penner uses as the introduction to her 2013 book “Bathroom.”

Situated 57 miles north of Milwaukee, the city was develop along the Sheboygan River in the mid-1800s by German, Austrian, Russian, Dutch and Irish immigrants.

These images highlight features at the art facility, and were taken during a recent PBS filming of the network’s “Next Avenue Community Conversations” program.

About The Author

Lee Matz

A Milwaukee native, Lee worked internationally for years as an award-winning foreign correspondent and photojournalist based in Asia. He was also the first war correspondent from Wisconsin to report from Ukraine in 2022. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his local news reports.