Tourism grant helps fund JMKAC 50th-year exhibit

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) is framing up a year-long original exhibition series with help from a $20,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. “The Road Less Traveled” will utilize the entire JMKAC facility to showcase nineteen artistbuilt environments from the art center’s world-renowned collection. The exhibit combines rarely-seen and never-before displayed installations centered on the theme of art environments, developed from transformation of a personal space, such as a home or year, into an exceptional work of art.

“This project clearly demonstrates that funding tourism marketing initiatives produces a sound return on investment for the local economy,” Governor Walker said. “Tourism is part of Wisconsin’s economic foundation and its continued growth is a priority for my administration because of the nearly 191,000 jobs it supports, the tax revenues it generates and the positive image it projects for the State.”

The Road Less Traveled will also include residencies for scholars, curators, musicians and theorists who will produce new works in response to the environments on display. These new pieces will be incorporated into the original installations to help curate an evolving exhibition for viewers and visitors. “The Road Less Traveled” is projected to attract over 61,000 local attendees and over 38,000 non-local attendees, generating over $2.7 million in visitor expenditures.

“We are thrilled to support the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in their efforts to raise Wisconsin’s profile as an arts destination and attract art enthusiasts to experience this oneof a-kind exhibit,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “Programs of this caliber give new visitors an opportunity to experience the museum as well as other Sheboygan attractions and create a positive economic impact in the community.”

In 2015, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $19.3 billion, a more than four percent increase from 2014. Since 2010, tourism activity in the state added 18,717 jobs to the economy, an 11% increase in travel and hospitality employment opportunities for Wisconsin residents. Visitors generated $1.5 billion in state and local revenue. Wisconsin taxpayers would need to pay $640 per household in order to maintain current government services. Total business sales in Sheboygan County reached more than $358 million in 2015, supporting 3,451 jobs and $26.6 million in state and local taxes.

“‘The Road Less Traveled,’ which marks the Arts Center’s 50th anniversary, is one of our most ambitious exhibition series in recent years. We are grateful for this support from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, which will help shine a light on our world-renowned collection of art and reveal that Wisconsin is both a cultural and a recreational wonderland,” said Arts Center Director Sam Gappmayer.

In fiscal 2016, the Department funded 57 JEM projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $31 million. JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and thirdyear projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the State as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.


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