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Art Under Construction

Art Preview

Feb. 13, 2008
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The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) is beginning a seven-month public project that will use sidewalk art to commemorate the oral history of Sheboygan. Collaborating with Community Partners, a group of 15 nonprofit organizations within the area, JMKAC will present “Sidewalk Stories.” The project will bring both new art and sidewalks to Sheboygan, revitalizing neighborhoods throughout the city.

Artist Anne Wallace coordinates the “Sidewalk Stories” workshops with the assistance of Norma Cantu, an expert in collecting oral histories. Wallace, a Texan sculptor and videographer, channels her creativity into artwork that gives meaning and permanency to the stories of people who often remain silent in society. Her artistic vision allows these voices to speak through images, photographs, bas-reliefs and texts that will eventually be imprinted in concrete, and be seen on a daily basis when walking along the streets.

The February workshops collect histories and personal stories from schools, nursing homes, businesses and organizations of local tradesmen to record the real-life experiences of residents. Open-studio sessions in March will create visual images and symbolism from these stories. The finalized artwork will be put into place with the help of local workers in participation with the Kohler Arts/Industry Program.

Anyone may contribute to these workshops and studio sessions, adding their untold histories, stories or experiences of the surrounding areas to this engaging project. As it progresses, updates will be posted at the JMKAC, with a final celebration for all of the installations planned at various city sites in August. Public projects like the “Sidewalk Stories” offer everyone, even those who have limited access to the arts, an opportunity to enjoy the importance of design in everyday life. Share a story about the Sheboygan area by e-mailing ahorst@jmkac.org or mailing a note to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, PO Box 1515, Sheboygan, WI 53082-9977. Studio sessions begin March 11 and are free to the public.

The Kohler Arts Center also installs two innovative exhibits this month as part of its “Constructed Reality” exhibition that will be in place completely by March 2. Each individual exhibit focuses on concepts that imagine new definitions of reality and fantasy, confronting perceptions of what is truly genuine.

“Stretching the Truth” opened Feb. 10, and includes photographic art as sculpture. Twenty-seven nationally recognized artists display their uniquely personal “pictures” in this avant-garde collection that stretches the viewer’s understanding of photography as an art form. “Carlos Ferguson: Little Worlds” opens Feb. 17 with interactive dioramas and object boxes that expand photography into the realm of constructed landscapes. Each of these projects constructs new art worlds to challenge the mind’s perception of reality.


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