Bank First donates $250K for Art Preserve


BANK FIRST Chief Executive Officer Michael Molepske (second from left) and Bank First Sheboygan Market President Richard Balge (far right) present a $250,000 donation supporting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Art Preserve to Arts Center Director Sam Gappmayer (far left) and Arts Center Director of Strategic Initiatives/Director Emerita Ruth DeYoung Kohler (second from right) - Submitted photo BANK FIRST Chief Executive Officer Michael Molepske (second from left) and Bank First Sheboygan Market President Richard Balge (far right) present a $250,000 donation supporting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Art Preserve to Arts Center Director Sam Gappmayer (far left) and Arts Center Director of Strategic Initiatives/Director Emerita Ruth DeYoung Kohler (second from right) - Submitted photo Bank First, the subsidiary of Bank First National Corp., announced a $250,000 donation to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Art Preserve in a check presentation ceremony at the Arts Center.

The gift supports JMKAC’s new satellite facility now under construction at 3636 Lower Falls Road on Sheboygan’s west side. The Art Preserve, slated for opening in late summer of 2020, will house the Arts Center’s world-renowned collection of artist-built environments, which has grown to include more than 20,000 works.

“We are very appreciative of the opportunity to support the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and its mission to present and preserve extraordinary works of art right here in Sheboygan,” stated Michael Molepske, chief executive officer of Bank First. “This donation reflects our commitment to the Sheboygan community and our dedication to ensuring all individuals and families have the opportunity to learn, enjoy, and appreciate the arts from a world-class facility.”

The donation assists the Arts Center in offering the public, students and researchers ongoing access to its collection through curated displays, an education area/multipurpose room, an archive, and a study area at the 54,000-square-foot Art Preserve. In the past, the artwork could be seen only when exhibited at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center or on loan at other institutions.

“Bank First has been an amazing partner and supporter of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center for many decades,” said Sam Gappmayer, director of the Arts Center. “Their leadership in our community sets the highest possible standard, and their gift in support of the Art Preserve is another example of their community spirit.”

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s main campus at 608 New York Ave. in downtown Sheboygan will remain the primary location for public engagement, including original exhibitions, performances, classes, group tours, community events, Preschool, and other offerings.

The Art Preserve’s three level building, designed by tres birds workshop of Denver, Colorado, embraces an aesthetic in harmony with the work it houses. The building’s exterior façade and interior spaces incorporate materials favored by the creators of artist environments.

In addition, the Art Preserve design respects the surrounding habitats, complementing land conservancy initiatives related to adjacent acreage along the Sheboygan River. An irregular footprint allows the building to “climb” the sloping site and offers areas where the outdoors infiltrates interior spaces. Mortenson Construction, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, is building the structure. The project is expected to cost $40 million.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is open daily except major holidays. Admission is free. Call 920-458-6144 or visit jmkac.org for more information


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