June 17–October 27


Come enjoy, and participate in, the first-ever gallery exhibition of images found in the best-selling book Awkward Family Photos and on the website of the same name.

This is an open exhibition, meaning the public can contribute images to be placed on view in the gallery. It is easy! Simply mail your image to the Arts Center or drop it off. You can also post a photo to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's Facebook page time line.

“Family. They’re the people we love, the people we trust and confide in, the people we identify with. But there’s something else about family that isn’t often spoken about, because, well, it’s not always comfortable to admit. So, let’s just put it out there family is awkward.  That’s right. When a group of people with the same last name and different personalities are forced to spend most of their lives together, plenty of uncomfortable moments are sure to follow. And when a camera is there to capture one of those moments, an awkward family photo is born.” So reads a portion of the book Awkward Family Photos.

Awkward Family Photos, the website, was launched in 2009 when childhood friends Mike Bender (CA) and Doug Chernack (CA) saw an awkward vacation photo hung in Mike’s parents’ house. Realizing there were probably plenty of other people with their own awkward family photos, they set out to create a friendly place where people could share their own odd family moments. The website was followed by two best-selling books and a highly successful Facebook presence.

AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS aims to explore the universal phenomenon of the awkward family and provide a platform for people to celebrate the family experience and all the moments that come with it. By seeing the photos of others, one can relate to and take comfort in the fact that one is not alone in the awkwardness; that yes, your family is not the only one.

The exhibition was created with the full collaboration of Bender and Chernack and the generous participation of families in Sheboygan and across the United States. It is the hope of the artists that this exhibition will, in the words of Bender and Chernack, “bring all our families a little closer together as we acknowledge those special times when we wished we were a lot farther apart.”