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18 Nov 2020

Ruth DeYoung Kohler II (1941 - 2020)

The American Folk Art Museum mourns the passing of Ruth DeYoung Kohler II.

For over four decades, Kohler was Director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC), a 100,000-square-foot visual and performing arts complex in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. As the leader of one of the most innovative arts organizations in the United States. Kohler was “a tireless champion of under-recognized artists and art forms.”

Commented AFAM Senior Curator Valérie Rousseau, “Saving art environments is a complex, consuming, and multifaceted endeavor. Not only was Kohler successful in conserving and preserving sites and large scale installations, through her vision, determination, and generosity, she brought broader recognition to self-taught artists and inspired generations of students, curators, and scholars.”

Kohler was the recipient of the museum’s 2015 Visionary Award, which through the support of Audrey B. Heckler, honors an individual, institution, or project that has made a unique and distinctive contribution to the field of self-taught and vernacular art. That year, Kohler was recognized for her leadership in the promotion and conservation of large-scale art environments by self-taught artists.

The museum’s staff and its board extend its sympathies to Kohler’s family, friends and colleagues.