Blending the art-car tradition and the commercial food truck, this Connecting Communities collaboration explored the eat local movement while raising awareness of the challenges some people face in bringing nourishing food to the table. It was created through a partnership of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, home of Connecting Communities, and Lakeshore Technical College.
Through two popular interests—embellishing motor vehicles and foodie culture—this Connecting Communities project united a broad community in the exploration of ideas of sustainability, local food sources, and access to healthy foods.
The marvelous and magical Culinary Art Car is the result of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center partnering closely with Lakeshore Technical College, and the creativity of visiting artists-in-residence and the local community.
During the first phase, artist-in-residence Mac Maker, his team of artists, and area participants explored the multicultural fascination with embellishing vehicles—more commonly known as art cars. They created a design inspired by the Sheboygan community and related to ideas of sustainable agriculture. Over the course of a few months, they altered the vehicle into a dynamic, functioning kinetic sculpture.
In phase two of the project, artist-in-residence Robert Karimi worked with adults and children of the area, with a special focus on communities who are most at risk for developing type-2 diabetes, to create performances associated with the Culinary Art Car. Karimi invoked his cooking-show character, Mero Cocinero, as the chef of the vehicle. Mero believes that the “revolution begins in the kitchen” and advocates that all people should have access to local, healthy food sources through the vehicle of comedy. Karirmi led community participants in the creation of entertaining, yet poignant, site-specific performances and sharing of “food stories” as the vehicle traveled around the area and prepared food for special events.
The Culinary Art Car was created through a partnership of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, home of Connecting Communities, and Lakeshore Technical College. Connecting Communities collaborations and the Culinary Art Car are supported in part by the Bert L. and Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust, a generous foundation that prefers anonymity, Herman Miller Cares, an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and 2014 JMKAC Gala Donors. Additional support for the Culinary Art Car has been provided by Kiefer Industries, Lean Kitchen Solutions, Nourish, Vollrath Company, LLC, and the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation.