Art-Environment Builders Curriculum

Art-Environment Builders Curriculum Overview

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center offers innovative art curricula that intersect directly with the Arts Center’s permanent collection of art environments and relevant, student-centered big ideas. With each lesson plan we provide artist biographies, discussion questions, and ideas for activities and reflection—as well as additional resources, visual presentations, and cross-curricular connections. Explore these fascinating artists and unique lesson plans with your students and share your results with us through

What is an Art-Environment Builder?

Art-environment builders significantly transform their personal surroundings, for example—their home or yard—into exceptional, multifaceted works of art. Often these art environments embody the maker’s life experience and express the locale in which the builder lives and works. Materials often include local supplies such as concrete, wood, or found materials. Every art environment is different in intent, meaning, scale, or material; however, they share a role as a unique, visual record of personal histories.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center has preserved and exhibited art environments since the 1970s. Today, with well over 20,000 individual works of art by 30 different art-environment builders in its collection, the Arts Center is the world’s leading center of presentation and research of this work. In 2007, the Arts Center produced Sublime Spaces and Visionary Worlds, the first book to explore these spectacular spaces in detail.



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Big Ideas


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Lesson Plans


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