Grant Programs

Collectively, art and culture organizations are a part of an ecosystem that provides the resources, support, space, and connection needed for artists to thrive and engage with their communities. From providing an artist’s first big moment, to being the sole art space in town, to offering the time artists need to experiment, to supplying opportunities for exchange and wonder, to caring for their archives and homes.

We support organizations that acknowledge the fullness and interconnectedness of artists’ lives and whose missions are clearly rooted in the communities they serve.

Thought Leaders

The formation of Ruth Arts’ multi-year Thought Leaders program is inspired by the breadth of Ruth Koher’s life and giving—non-hierarchical and committed to structural change with an unwavering generosity and a dedication to the unexpected. Through a substantial, sustained level of support, our multi-year program uplifts organizations undertaking ambitious, transformative initiatives with long-term impact. Organizations that are dedicated to the complex work of forming new possibilities through experimentation, capacity building, and deeper understandings and investigations of our histories, environments, or the full arc of an artist’s life.

Photo: Sana Javeri Kadri

Core Grants

Building upon our Spring 2022 Artist Choice campaign and the historical giving of Ruth DeYoung Kohler II, the Fall 2022 core grant program is shaped by three organizing categories: how artists live, make, and are remembered.

RDK Legacy

In 1985, Ruth DeYoung Kohler II set up the RDK Foundation as a way to support arts and culture organizations, primarily in the Midwest, she felt personally aligned with. Ruth Arts has continued to support those organizations and commits to funding these legacy-based grantees on an annual basis.
Photo: John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Ruth Kohler at the Art Preserve

Sites & Stewardship

Sites & Stewardship nurtures the ever-evolving and exceptional relationships between artmaking and place. Rooted in Ruth DeYoung Kohler II’s long standing love of artist-built environments, this inaugural program stems from the belief that new possibilities emerge when we value the specificity of spaces in the pursuit of creativity.

Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Artist Choice​

In early 2022, Executive Director Karen Patterson approached 50 artists and asked them to nominate organizations that have impacted their creative practice and contributed to the ecosystem of artmaking and community connections. This list stems from their insights and recommendations.