SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (WFRV) – The prestigious John Michael Kohler Arts Center will host “Ways of Being Celebration,” a free event exploring new contemporary art exhibitions, from 7 to 9 p.m. May 21.

According to a press release: The event is open to the public. Reservations, which can be found here, are suggested.

Featuring music, appetizers, a cash bar, and conversation, “Ways of Being Celebration” launches a yearlong series of exhibitions that invite center visitors “to move beyond simply reflecting on the world and toward actively shaping it.”

Artists included in the exhibitions collectively ask, “What if?”

The event is the first chance to view “Creative! Growth!,” which officially opens to the public May 22. The group exhibition is the first to consider the history of Creative Growth Arts Center in Oakland, California, the pre-eminent center for artists with disabilities in the United States.

Another group exhibition, “In the Adjacent Possible,” presents large-scale installations by five contemporary artists “who have conjured worlds that are not quite here, yet are within our grasp.” Artists included in the exhibition are Jessica Campbell, Yasmine K. Kasem, Suchitra Mattai, Haleigh Nickerson, and Nyugen E. Smith.

Four additional galleries feature artists Lee Hunter, Woody De Othello, Eva Papamargariti, and Sarah Zapata in solo exhibitions.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center is located at 608 New York Ave. in downtown Sheboygan. Free parking is available in the Arts Center lot located on the south side of New York Ave.

The center is known for promoting the understanding and appreciation of the work of self-taught and contemporary artists through exhibitions and commissioned works of art. Founded in 1967, the center has preserved, studied, and exhibited artist-built environments, earning a worldwide reputation. “Art environments involve an individual significantly transforming their surroundings into an exceptional, multifaceted work of art.”

The center’s downtown Sheboygan facility includes eight galleries, two performance spaces, a café, a museum shop, and a drop-in art-making studio. Among its program offerings are community arts projects; artist residencies; presentations of dance, film, and music; a free weekly summer concert series; classes and workshops; an onsite arts-based preschool; and approximately 12 original exhibitions of the work of self-taught and contemporary artists annually. The center also administers the Arts/Industry residency program, hosted by Kohler Co.

In 2021, the center opened the Art Preserve (feature story), the world’s first museum to focus entirely on work from art environments. Located at 3636 Lower Falls Road three miles from John Michael Kohler Arts Center, the 56,000-square-foot, three-level building holds more than 25,000 works in the center’s world-renowned collection, which includes complete and partial environments by more than 30 vernacular, self-taught, and academically-trained artists.

At both locations, admission is always free.