Ruth DeYoung Kohler II passionately believed in the arts as a driver of positive social change. Her vision and dedication to celebrating and preserving diverse art forms resonates on an international scale. A certainty in the power of art to transform lives is her legacy to all whom she inspired.

Her Story
"It’s about connections, the connections between past and present, between visiting artists and local artists, between artists and the public.”

- Ruth DeYoung Kohler II

Her Mission

Ruth Kohler believed in the arts as a source for personal and social change. She left a lasting legacy of inclusion and collaboration in the programs she established at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Art Environments

With her appointment to director of the Arts Center in 1972, Ruth broadened the organization’s focus to include the work of self-taught artists, particularly those who built environments.


Under Ruth Kohler’s leadership, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry residency program became world-renowned as one of the most remarkable alliances of art and industry in the United States.


In recognition of her dedication to the arts, Ruth Kohler received many prestigious honors and awards.