Kohler Foundation is committed to the preservation of art environments and important collections, as well as Wisconsin culture and heritage. In the past, Kohler Foundation’s preservation efforts were focused almost entirely in the state of Wisconsin. However, the Foundation is committed to expanding its preservation efforts nationwide. In some cases, artists have transformed their homes and/or their yards into powerful and unique works of art; some have built chapels and grottos, while others created literally hundreds of life-size or over-life-size sculptures and murals that cover entire buildings. Kohler Foundation has initiated and completed many major restorations, among them: The Painted Forest at Valton, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips, Wisconsin; Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto at Cataract, Wisconsin; Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden and Museum near Cochrane, Wisconsin; Nick Engelbert’s Grandview in Hollandale, Wisconsin, Hartman Rock Garden in Springfield, Ohio; Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; and Kenny Hill's Chauvin Sculpture Environment in Chauvin, Louisiana. Kohler Foundation's most recent site preservation projects include the Garden of Eden sculpture park in Lucas, Kansas, Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia, and the Langlais Preserve in Cushing, Maine. Many of our Wisconsin sites are included in Wandering Wisconsin, a consortium of art environments in the state.
In addition, Kohler Foundation has conserved collections of works created by self-taught artists, among them: the Nick Engelbert Painting Collection; the Norman Pettingill Pen and Ink Drawing Collection; Rudy Rotter art pieces; Nek Chand’s concrete and fabric sculptures; Loy Bowlin’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” house and objects, the Ray Yoshida's personal collection of paintings and art, and Schomer Lichtner's body of work.
Kohler Foundation’s preservation efforts are regarded at the forefront of the self-taught art movements. Numerous Midwestern and national publications, including The New York Times, have cited Kohler Foundation’s work in preservation and art. Kohler Foundation has received many awards for its preservation work, including the Sally Hardy Eager Historic Preservation Achievement Award, which was awarded by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1993, and a 2003 Governor's Award in Support of the Arts at a ceremony in Madison, WI. Most recently, Kohler Foundation was recognized as "one of the most active and significant arts support organizations in the country" with the presentation of a 2015 Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award, sponsored by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and Wisconsin Visual Artists.