Ruth DeYoung Kohler II (1941-2020) was an advocate for artists. She was perpetually creative and exacting in all she did. She held no pretensions, putting the individual needs of artists and the collective needs of communities above all else. Most of all, she believed in staying curious, and in supporting those who explored possibilities, those who pushed boundaries and showed us something unexpected.
A lifetime supporter of the arts, Ruth eschewed hierarchies and excluding categories within the art world in favor of artmaking that inspired new understandings of the creative process and of ourselves.
Serving as Director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center for over fifty years, she made significant contributions to the arts across the U.S.,including serving as Chairman and member of the Wisconsin Arts Board, acting as a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Organization panel member and past site evaluator, and as founder of the Preservation Committee of Kohler Foundation, Inc.
She believed passionately that the arts reveal who we are as a people: past, present and future. She promoted inclusive access to the arts in her local community, her home state of Wisconsin, and on national and international levels.