Arts

“That’s what I’m interested in: the space in between, the moment of imagining what is possible and yet not knowing what that is.”

Julie Mehretu

Artistry is as essential to our work at Kohler as innovative design and quality materials. Without it, Kohler would not be Kohler. The arts inspire our designers, and artisans inhabit our factories. And yet, art and industry exist in entirely separate worlds.

In 1974, visionary Ruth DeYoung Kohler imagined a space between the worlds of art and industry. The Arts/Industry residency program is celebrating 50 years of living out Ruth’s vision, welcoming well-over 500 artists to the Kohler, Wisconsin Pottery and Foundry. In this space between, artists and artisans connect, their ways of making collide and shift, and new possibilities arise.

Arts/Industry is administered by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and hosted by Kohler.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC)

Events celebrating the Arts/Industry 50th anniversary will be held at JMKAC in Kohler, Wisconsin throughout 2024.

Arts/Industry 50th Anniversary

Celebrating the impact of Ruth DeYoung Kohler’s vision to bring artists and artisans together.

Arts/Industry Walking Tour Map and Guide

Stroll through the Village of Kohler, Wisconsin and explore extraordinary works created in the Kohler Pottery and Foundry by Arts/Industry resident artists.

Arts/Industry Walking Tour Art on Display

Read about each of the artworks from the Arts/Industry collection currently displayed on the walking tour. View all pieces on display or filter by location.

Arts/Industry Program Featured Artists

Arts/Industry: Jacob Olmedo

For multidiscipline artist Jacob Olmedo, Kohler and art are a familiar duo. Having grown up nearby, Jacob shares the questions that inform their work today, as well as the central role Ruth DeYoung Kohler’s mentorship played in shaping the artist they’ve become.

Arts/Industry: Lee Running

Sculptor Lee Running works with painstaking care in a variety of mediums, creating works that draw attention to invisible labor and human impact on nature.

Arts/Industry: Sarah K. Khan

Radically unapologetic and brilliantly nuanced, multimedia artist and scholar Sarah K. Khan introduces us to her pantheon of heroes, their lives unbound from the 16th-century Book of Delights.

Arts/Industry: Joann Quiñones

Arts/Industry resident Joann Quiñones explores material culture, in particular 18th century decorative arts, complicating the narratives of who and what is valued in society and why.

Arts/Industry: Jesse Harrod

Arriving at the residency after their twelfth heart surgery and keenly aware of their body, Jesse’s work imagines new possibilities at the intersection of queerness and neuro or physical divergence.

Arts/Industry: Chotsani Elaine Dean

Arts/Industry resident Chotsani Elaine Dean offers a unique perspective on working with clay, economies built on trade, and creating art in a manufacturing setting.

Arts/Industry: Harold Mendez

L.A. artist and recent Kohler Arts/Industry resident Harold Mendez shares his experience as a first-generation American exploring the intersection of art, culture, and identity.

Arts/Industry: Talia Mukmel

See Israeli artist Talia Mukmel at work in the Kohler foundry during her Arts/Industry residency. Get a glimpse into her process and the inspiration behind her art.

An artist in Kohler Co.'s Arts/Industry program uses a small tool to shape a clay sculpture

Watch art come to life in our factories.

More than 500 artists have passed through and been inspired by our Wisconsin factories since the Arts/Industry program began in 1974. Watch former artists-in-residence share their experiences.

Our stories

Kids and adults from Kohler's India Technical Center sit around tables loaded with art supplies, working on creative projects together

Art in schools.

Bringing joy and kindness to kids who really need it, our associates share their time and energy to help kids express themselves through art.

Amidst a busy background, two women look at a sculpture that's part of Multiculturalism, an exhibit from the Bold. Art. Program

Expressions of multiculturalism.

Artists transform our raw materials into unexpected art pieces, and we’re taking this work on a regional tour. 

Ruth DeYoung Kohler II (1941 – 2020)

A tremendous loss to the international arts community and to everyone who knew and loved her, Ruth DeYoung Kohler died Saturday, November 14, at her home in Kohler, Wisconsin, at the age of 79.

Your Kohler story begins here.