The John Michael Kohler Arts Center offers many unique classes and workshops—many inspired by our exhibitions—instructed by local professionals and visiting artists. Each year, hundreds of students of all ages and experience levels gather to learn from experienced artist-instructors, explore new mediums, and gain inspiration from the museum’s exhibitions and collections. Our instructors are experienced, professional artists offering their expertise and sharing their passion.
Are you interested in becoming an instructor for the John Michael Kohler Arts Center? Email your résumé, portfolio, and a class proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patty Aker has worn many hats at the Arts Center: member, volunteer, docent, and instructor. Her current work as a fiber artist sprang from a commission for a baptismal banner for her church that spurred a successful business venture with silk, Gaelic Sands. Her favorite part of the Arts Center? “It surrounds me with enthusiastic art-centered people and provides me with drive, opportunities, and inspiration for my work.” Painting and sharing art experiences, learning new techniques, and teaching silk painting workshops are a crucial part of her world.
Born into an artistic family, Agata Augustine’s mother was a painter and her younger sister is a graphic designer and printmaker. Augustine attended the Strzemiński Academy of Art and received an MA in painting. While attending the Academy, she used her summer vacations to travel as an exchange student and go to England and the States, working to support her schooling. In 2005 she was hired as a set artist for the Se-ma-for animation studio in Lodz, Poland, and cocreated set designs for the puppet animation movie “Peter and the Wolf” directed by Suzy Templeton, which went on to win an Academy Award as “Best Short Animated Movie” in 2008. Now she expects to be in the United States for a long time and hopes her art will continue developing in new ways to help her continue her career in this country. She currently creates paintings for private commissions and opened OBRAZ art studio in Elkhart Lake, WI. Aside from teaching classes at the Arts Center, Augustine also is an instructor at the Plymouth Arts Center.
Molly King received her BA in dance as well as her teaching certification at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Recently, she received her MA in special education at Cardinal Stritch University. King has been teaching for the Sheboygan Area School District for nine years. This is her seventh year teaching for the Arts Center. Outside of teaching, King codirects a dance collective in the Sheboygan community called Sixth Street Dance and is an active performer for a German folk dance group in Milwaukee, Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt.
When asked why she likes teaching at the Arts Center, Marilyn Montemayor said, “It feels very comfortable, it’s a second home to me, I’m just so comfortable here and working with the people here.” Montemayor has been a part of the Arts Center since it comprised only the former John Michael Kohler home. She began as a volunteer and has since taken on many roles here. Montemayor now teaches our popular cooking classes. What does she like about teaching classes here? “When I’m teaching the children and the adults, we aren’t learning just the science of cooking, but the art of it as well, as each individual sees it and tastes it…The best thing is creating something from what you have around—that’s what I really like.”
Susan Richter-O’Connell has been honing her metalsmithing skills as a studio artist for over twenty years and has been a recipient of many awards. She sells her work at stores, galleries, and art fairs throughout the Midwest. She developed the present metals program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center where she has been teaching jewelry making for 15 years. Richter-O’Connell received her BFA in dance and began creating in metal after a previous career as a modern dancer. She is attracted to the physicality of both of these art forms. Her jewelry is predominantly inspired by the beach stones she finds on the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior.
Ceramic artist and teacher Pat Robison has “played with clay” for over 40 years, enamored from the very first time he touched it in his last semester of college. Totally hooked, he immediately took a summer class, then went on to complete a graduate degree in ceramics at UW-Milwaukee, graduating in 1976. That same year, he taught his first class at the Arts Center and has continued to be a popular teacher ever since. He takes great pleasure in sharing his passion with others and is constantly invigorated by what students bring to the class. He loves watching students have their own personal experience with the clay, and the way beginners often push beyond established technical rules. His classes have been wide-ranging: from raku to silk screening on ceramic to reliquary sculptures. Whether teaching hand-building or wheel-throwing techniques, he emphasizes retaining the feel of the material and the mark of the maker. In addition to teaching at the Arts Center, Robison co-owns and teaches at Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake with his wife, Karen.
Libby Faye Schmitz is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s dance department where she received her BFA in contemporary dance as well as her minor in somatics. She has studied the Alexander Technique, an area of somatics, as an undergrad trainee under Luc Vanier. As a postgrad she performed with The Human Movement Project: Rooftop Dance, Wildspace Dance Company MKE, and in the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival. Once back in her hometown of Sheboygan, she successfully produced her first show Bodies of Work: A Showcase of Independent Choreographers in the Paradigm annex. She is currently an employee of ESAA as the movement instructor and works at the JMKAC as the creative movement Ballet 2 instructor. Schmitz is also a candidate for the yoga teacher training at YogaLoft.