Amy Horst was appointed director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in 2022 after nearly two decades of service to the Arts Center through advancing roles. While overseeing all administrative and financial oversight, she also works closely with staff on realizing the Arts Center’s curatorial and programmatic vision of providing accessible entry points for a broad community to have meaningful experiences through the arts.
Her advocacy and relationship building through the arts led to mayoral appointments to city boards and committees as well as accolades in the art world. Her 2006 curated project with artists from the municipalWORK was named to the top 40 public art pieces by the Public Art Network’s Year in Review, and her work around memory in 2011 received a 2011 Arts Presenters/MetLife Arts Access Award recognizing the program for its exemplary dedication and approach to engaging underserved communities that lack access to the performing arts.Additional curated projects such as the creation of a street art project called the Sheboygan Project, as well as an award-winning summer concert series and art program have changed the landscape of downtown Sheboygan.
When she assumed the role of associate director in 2012, Horst began to lead all Arts Centerprogramming areas, including exhibitions and collections, the Arts/Industry residency program, education, community arts, and performing arts. Under Horst’s direction, Arts Center exhibitions regularly drew critical praise, including citation by Artforum as among Best of 2020 (Lenore Tawney: Mirror of the Universe and Best of 2017 (Things Are What We Encounter). In addition, hers was a critical voice in the creation of the Art Preserve—an award-winning 60,000 sq ft facility dedicated to the Arts Center’s collection of artist-built environments.
She holds a BA in studio art and an MPA from Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where she was also assistant director of the SOFA Gallery. Horst is a 2019 alumna of the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to coming to Sheboygan, she was executive director of the Coleman Center for Arts in York, Alabama, where she originated a community-based artist-in-residence program that impacted the community’s race relations and small business development opportunities for women and infused the arts into the community.