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Artist Fred Spaulding (TX) is shown, in the Foundry, enveloped by prototypes and cast components for his sculptures, 2007.
Arts/Industry artist Olen Hsu (ID) working in his studio space at Kohler Co. Pottery, 2006.
Michael Sherrill (NC) expanded the potential of enameling on iron for Arts/Industry artists during his 2006 residency.
Denise Pelletier (CT) finishes hundreds of "feeders" for a large-scale installation.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Apply for the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's celebrated Arts/Industry residency program! Up to sixteen artists from around the world are chosen each year for two- to six-month residencies that give them access to the Pottery and/or Foundry in the Kohler Co. factory in Kohler, Wisconsin. Artists have the opportunity to work with experienced technicians and create new work in an industrial setting.

Arts/Industry is open to all emerging and established artists working in any discipline. Artists need not be trained ceramists or metal sculptors, just interested in materials and the potential for the industrial environment and processes to influence their creative practice.

The program provides 24/7 access to industrial studios, an excellent staff that will guide you through the process, time to explore new ideas and techniques, free housing, round-trip transportation, professional photography services, use of industrial equipment and materials, free safety equipment, and a modest stipend.

Location

Sheboygan, Wisconsin: United States

The residency takes place within the nation’s leading plumbingware manufacturer, Kohler Co., in Kohler, WI, approximately 4 miles west of the lakeside city of Sheboygan, and 120 miles north of Chicago.

Statistics

  • Residency Length: 2-6 months
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 2-4
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 16
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 300

Eligibility

  • Application type: Open application
  • Collaboration: May apply as a team
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Application deadline: April 08
  • Application Ongoing: No
  • Additional deadline info:
    Applications are accepted from December 1 through April 1 for residencies in the following calendar year. For information about when applications are accepted each year, please see the Residency page at the Arts Center's website: www.jmkac.org.

Past Residents & Quotes

Past residents: 
Ann Agee, Mary Jo Bole, Willie Cole, Andrea Dezsö, John Grade, Olen Hsu, Jack Earl, Sergei Isupov, Tom Joyce, Beth Lipman, Ken Little, Juan Logan, Richard Notkin, Carolyn Ottmers, Denise Pelletier, Alex Schweder, Christine Tarkowski, Norwood Viviano
What is unique about this residency is that it is not of the artist’s world. The factory challenges everything sensitive, intellectual, and dear. It is a thrill to see ideas take root and grow in such an environment. The power of art is confirmed. The selfless support of the artists by the workers makes it happen. This residency…brought my life’s work together into a singularity for the first time ever. The resolution this experience represented will resonate in my work for years.
— Tom Spleth
Working side by side with industrial staff who are producing plumbingware and engines, the artists use the materials and technologies to create sculpture, installations, murals, and public commissions not otherwise possible. For many years the Arts/Industry residency has been hailed as one of the most unusual and fruitful collaborations between the arts and industry in twentieth-century America, and has been featured in media from Japan to Chicago.
— Ruth DeYoung Kohler

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private bedroom in a shared housing facility
    Residents are provided with private rooms in a 4-bedroom furnished house with laundry facilities.
  • Meals: No meals/food provided
  • Computer/internet access: Computer and internet connection provided in common area (shared), Computer and internet connection provided in living or studio area (private), Wireless Internet
  • Accessibility: no
    It would be very difficult to navigate the site in a wheelchair; however, the Arts Center will consider each individual according to his/her needs and the extent of his/her disability. There are no special facilities for artists with vision or hearing impairment.
  • Studios/special equipment: Ceramics / Pottery, Exhibition / Installation, Heavy metals / Blacksmithing, Painting, Theater, Sculpture, Woodworking
  • Additional studio information: 
    The program takes place within the Kohler Co. manufacturing facility with studios in both the iron foundry and the pottery buildings. Artists have access to cast iron, cast brass, enameled cast iron, metal plating, sprayed metals, and vitreous china, as well as wood facilities and an extensive metal fabrication shop. Access to other areas such as the patternmaking shop, block and case, and painting facilities are provided on a case-by-case basis. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, located 4 miles east of the factory, is a 1-acre site with a 100,000-sq.-ft. facility including 9 galleries, a multi-arts performance space, an intimate theatre, 4 classrooms/studios, a resource center, gallery shop, and café. Specific equipment provided during the Arts/Industry residency at Kohler Co. includes limited blacksmithing facilities; ceramics/pottery (extensive slip-casting facilities with slip piped into studio; glaze chemistry - stains only, no oxides; tunnel and shuttle gas kilns, small electric kilns); metal shop (extensive metal fabrication facility); sculpture (extensive iron and brass sand mold casting facilities); and enameling kilns and materials for enameling on iron.
  • Other facilities and services: Having a car is not necessary and bicycles are provided for residents’ use, but it is recommended that artists bring their own vehicle if they are able. Public transportation is available but limited in the Sheboygan/Kohler area. Smoking is permitted outdoors only.

Residency Fees

Artists are required to pay for the shipment of their work at the end of the residency. This amount is different for every artist and depends upon quantity and location.

Stipends / other support

The program provides 24/7 access to industrial studios, an excellent staff that will guide you through the process, time to explore new ideas and techniques, free housing, round-trip transportation (within the continental U.S.), professional photography services, materials, use of industrial equipment, free safety equipment and a modest stipend.

Additional expectations / opportunities

Each artist is asked to give one day back per month of his/her stay to the community by participating in educational outreach opportunities. This may include slide lectures, workshops, studio tours, video interviews, and other activities in the region. Each artist is also requested to gift two works of art: one to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center's permanent collection and one to Kohler Co.

Contact Information

608 New York Ave
Sheboygan, Wisconsin 53081
United States
Tel: 920 458-6144