FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2018
Contact: Patricia DuChene
Media Relations Coordinator
City officials, business leaders, representatives of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and community members gathered Thursday evening for the official opening of a new large-scale sculpture in the 500 block of North Eighth Street in downtown Sheboygan. Even the North High School Drumline was on hand for the celebration.
Located in the alley next to the Korthals Enterprises building, Opening (Walk Through #1) is the second downtown sculpture created in the Arts Center’s Art in Public Spaces program. Last year, Natural Bridge Study / Estudio de un Puente Natural by Mary Anne Kluth was installed in the alley adjoining the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in the 800 block of North Eighth Street.
The new sculpture, created by artist Diana Gabriel, is an immersive work of art that invites visitors to explore the space and appreciate the surrounding environment. The colors and patterns used in the work of art were developed in hands-on, bilingual workshops with the Latinx community over the past year. Gabriel emigrated from Bogotá, Colombia, and now lives and works in the Chicago area.
“With sculptures such as Opening (Walk Through #1), we see how art brings the community together—from its creation, which was a collaboration between the artist and dozens of workshop participants, to its installation here, where it offers a welcoming place for people meet or to take a break from their daily activities,” said Sam Gappmayer, director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
The value of public art as a factor in economic development and in establishing unique and culturally active places is recognized by city officials and business owners, according to Chad Pelishek, director of planning and development for the City of Sheboygan.
“Through a coordinated effort of community engagement, government support and involvement of property owners, the downtown is being reborn and is carrying out its mission of attracting people through attractive placemaking. The continued energizing of underutilized spaces in the downtown shows prospective business owners that downtown Sheboygan is the place to be,” said Pelishek.
Amanda Salazar, executive director of Sheboygan Squared Business Improvement District, agrees. “These works of art provide vibrate connectivity within the downtown district. We have seen a large uptick in foot traffic throughout the district, and we are thrilled to support the Arts Center’s Art in Public Spaces program,” she said.
The Arts Center’s Art in Public Spaces program has two additional public sculptures in the works for downtown Sheboygan. An immersive sculpture surrounded by natural landscaping will open on Sheboygan’s City Green later this summer, and another sculpture is planned for the south side of Mead Public Library. For information about participating in these projects, visit jmkac.org or call 920-458-6144..
Opening (Walk Through #1) was made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust, Kohler Foundation Inc. and the Frederic Cornell Kohler Charitable Trust. Additional support was provided by City of Sheboygan, Sheboygan Squared, Mi Ranchito Mexican Restaurant, Northern Wisconsin Regional Council of Carpenters Local 731, Quasius Construction Inc., Fasse Decorating Center, Korthals Enterprises Holdings Inc., Nimzy Tools, Sheboygan County Master Gardener Volunteers, and Paradigm Coffee & Music.
About the John Michael Kohler Arts Center: Founded in 1967, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is dedicated to making innovative arts programming accessible to a broad audience that ranges from artists and academics to families and youth of all ages. Central to its mission is promoting understanding and appreciation of the work of self-taught and contemporary artists through original exhibitions, commissioned works of art, performing arts programs, community arts initiatives, and publications.
The Arts Center’s collections focus primarily on works by artist-environment builders, self-taught and folk artists, and works created in the Arts/Industry residency program. Since the 1970s, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has preserved, studied, and exhibited artist environments. Today, with well over 20,000 individual works of art by 30 different art-environment builders in the collection, the Arts Center is the world’s leading center for research and presentation of this work.
Looking to the future, the Arts Center continues to generate new explorations in the arts that foster creative exchanges between an international community of artists and a diverse public. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is supported by corporate and foundation donors, government grants, and its many members. The Arts Center is not an entity of Kohler Co. or its subsidiaries.
Admission to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is by voluntary donation. Arts Center members receive a discount on performance and other event tickets, classes and camps tuition, purchases at ARTspace gift shops, and free or discounted admission to many special events. Memberships are available at the Arts Center, by visiting jmkac.org, and/or by calling 920-458-6144.
Arts Center Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Arts Center is open at other times for special events.