Today's sessions will focus on art environments in situ and strategies for art environments preserved in place and their caretakers.

9:00–10:30 a.m.

Community Side of Preservation

Long-term preservation of artist-built environments requires multiple layers of effort to educate, build awareness, and develop allies in the community and beyond. This side of preservation requires tremendous skill and care. Without it, the environments will not survive, and our shared cultural heritage will diminish.

This discussion will allow for a creative exchange of ideas, some of which may serve both current and future efforts at art environments across the country. Anne Pryor, folklorist emeritus of the Wisconsin Arts Board, leads the panel, which includes preservationists Rich Gabe, Ronald Harvey, Hannah Blunt, Gary LaFleur, and Dennis Sipiorski. Kohler Foundation preservation staff, Dan Smith and Susan Kelly, will also be on hand to field questions.

10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Current Issues Facing Site Stewards

When an organization makes the decision to become the steward of an artist-built environment, it takes on a complex and ever changing role. Issues arise and shift over time. Organization members are called to wear many hats and to stretch resources.  It is a multifaceted responsibility, and when changes arise it is important to signal to others who can provide support, advise, and collaboratively learn from the process.

This session will offer practical advice and anecdotes from real experiences about the challenges and rewards of stewardship of vernacular art sites, from individuals who have witnessed success as well as failure and learned the fine art of compromise in the process.

Mike McFalls moderates. Panelists: Peter Tokofsky, Erika Nelson, and Jim Draeger.


The Influence of Conservation on the Work of Living Artists                                 

As conservators working with self-taught art or artist-built environments, do we have an influence on the artist and, in turn, the art? Is this a positive or negative influence, or neither?

This panel brings together three conservators who have experiences working with living artists. They will reflect on these experiences and provide insights into the processes and pitfalls involved. And ultimately they will ask the question of themselves and colleagues, does the intervention of historians, conservators, the media, and the marketplace play too great a role in the artist’s creative process?

Panelists: Jason Church, Dennis Montagna, and Ronald Harvey.

12:00–12:45 LUNCH

1:00–2:00 p.m

Thinking of/through Pasaquan

Session with Karen Patterson, Mike McFalls, Anne Smart Martin, and Fred Fussell, and Jonathan Frederick Walz.

(More information to come.)

2:15–3:30 p.m.

Preservation Issues in Real Time

The preservation of vernacular art environments poses numerous challenges––one of the most critical being the element of continual change. The documentation and preservation of sites that are still in the process of being built present particularly demanding considerations, including how to “preserve” something that’s alive and growing, how to respect an artist’s freedom, and how to structure relationships between artists, non-profits, and communities.

This session brings together environment builders, preservationists, and other creative professionals to discuss the hazards that must be successfully negotiated to balance the ongoing creation of environments, a range preservation issues, changes in philosophy, and community relationships.

Panelists: Dr. Charles Smith, Fred Scruton, Jenenne Whitfield, Emily Smith, and Isaiah Zagar.


Art Education and Environments

Art environments provide insights into ways artists transform everyday places and objects as a means for personal expression and empowerment. The study of these unique and engaging art forms and the experiences of their creators are pathways for investigating a variety of art-making processes, enduring concepts, and multidisciplinary and material culture connections with learners. Beyond the classroom, educators can use these art environments as sites that engage communities in new understandings of art, and provide opportunities for personal or collaborative creating.

This panel explores processes for creating and disseminating relevant, contemporary art programming and curricula inspired by art environments to enrich student learning and inspire future generations to connect with these unique art forms. In addition, panelists discuss ideas for creating learning experiences for communities shaped by art environment sites.

Ann Brusky moderates. Panelists: Liz Rex, Jarred Roll, Marilyn Rolfsmeyer, and JMKAC education staff.


5:00–6:00 p.m. HAPPY HOUR


A Hearty Welcome for the SPACES Archives, from California to Wisconsin. A tribute to Seymour Rosen.

“There is something out there.” With these words Seymour Rosen (1935–2006) proclaimed the existence of the grand genre of vernacular environments, while admitting that the “something” evaded exact definition. In 1959, Rosen founded the nonprofit organization SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments) in Los Angeles for the purposes of identifying, documenting, and advocating for the preservation of art environments.

At this post-dinner event current and past SPACES board members will offer a whirlwind presentation of SPACES’ history, the scope of the archive, and its value to scholars and appreciators.

Presenters: Jo Farb Hernandez, Lisa Stone, Bill Swislow, John Foster, and Peter Tokofsky.


Producers from the podcast The Theory of Everything will present a live presentation of their findings after their Wandering Wisconsin summer road trip.