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Spirit on the Lake

For two weeks this summer, nine Project Onward artists lived under one roof in Sheboygan, WI. Sadly, we did not walk away with a salacious reality TV show. But instead, we have this collection of drawings, paintings, collages, and sculptures, lovingly crafted in this home away from home.

The work in “Spirit on the Lake” is infused with the influence of Sheboygan. The house on Niagara Ave (lent to us by all-around mensch Jack Connelly) was a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan and the show features many meditations on that rippling blue expanse. The residency was also right around the corner from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, a museum that has preserved and promoted self-taught art since 1967. Our friends at the JMKAC shared visionary masterworks from their collection with our artists; there are a few tributes to the concrete & scrap metal sculpture of midwestern original Carl Peterson on view.

The show features Dijon Barrett, David Holt, Sheila Smith, John Behnke, Blake Lenoir, Bill Douglas, Kenneth Williams, Louis Demarco, and Cherylle Booker and finds many of them edging out of their comfort zones, experimenting with new techniques and media. You’ll also get to listen to Louis Demarco’s gem of a musical tribute to Sheboygan: “I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich toasted / Ooooohhhh Sheboygan”

Under the steady hand of Residency Director Elaine Pawlowicz, we’re planning for the Sheboygan residency to happen annually. “Spirit on the Lake” shows the fruits of a change of scenery among friends

"Flower Bowl" by Cherylle Booker
"Dune Land Habitat" by Blake Lenoir
"Black Swan" by Bill Douglas
"Turtle" by Blake Lenoir
"Wildflower Garden" by Blake Lenoir
"Rattlesnake Master in the Dunes" by Blake Lenoir
"Potted Sheboygan Flora" by John Behnke
"Home in the Woods" by Kenneth Williams
"Bird 7" by John Behnke
"Bird 6" by John Behnke
"Bird 5" by John Behnke
"Ode to Yoshida" by David Holt
"Swans" by Blake Lenoir
"Bird 1" by John Behnke
"Bird 2" by John Behnke
"Sheboygan Landscape" by Dijon Barret
"James Tellen House" by David Holt
"Bird 3" by John Behnke
"Bird 4" by John Behnke
"Wading in the Lake" by Louis DeMarco
"Farmers Market Find" by Louis DeMarco
"Mossy Tray" by John Behnke
"Sheboygan Mug" by Dijon Barrett
"Dual Realities" by Bill Douglas
"Memento" by Bill Douglas
"Lake Michigan Coast" by Louis DeMarco
"Bird Bath" by Cherylle Booker
"Industry" by John Behnke
"Sheboygan Residence" by John Behnke
"Headed to the Beach" by John Behnke
"Jungle Scene" by Blake Lenoir
"Chicken Garden" by Blake Lenoir
"Great Smoky Mountains" by Bill Douglas
"Proud Buck" by Bill Douglas
"Color Flair" by Sheila Smith
"Dot Nebula" by Sheila Smith
"Dragon Vase" by Cherylle Booker
"Ode to Peterson" by Dijon Barrett
"Who Lives? Who Dies?" by Bill Douglas
"The Church of David Holt" by David Holt
"Wolcott and Washburne" by Kenneth Williams
"For a Good TIme Call" by Bill Douglas
"Dot Radio" by Sheila Smith
"80's Motif" by Sheila Smith
"Aquadots" by Sheila Smith
"Flower Bowl" by Sheila Smith
"Dot Bubbles" by Sheila Smith
"Thinly Cut Meats" by Kenneth Williams
"Dot Brigade" by Sheila Smith
"Peterson's Eagle" by Louis DeMarco
"Peterson's Castle" by Louis DeMarco

Shop this exhibition

Art from the show is available for purchase and ready for pick-up or shipping.

There's more to see

Project Onward believes we can inspire change by using art to promote empathy and reduce the stigma of mental illness and developmental disabilities. We seek to improve the self-image of artists by emphasizing the social and economic value of their work.


You can directly contribute to this belief and help improve the lives of each Project Onward artist by purchasing their work. Our online shop is open 24/7, and half of the sale for each original piece goes directly to the artist.

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