Postcards Reveal the Hidden Side of Badger State

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan put out the call asking people from around the country to submit postcards they thought best represented the Wisconsin that most people never see.

It got over 600 submissions – from across the country and around the globe – revealing “secret” sides of the Badger State. The collection is on view in Wisconsin Confidential: An Exhibition without Borders through February 3 at the Arts Center.

People from as far away as Bangladesh and London shared original, vintage, altered and store-bought postcards. Some cards are weird and wacky, while others are nostalgic and beautiful, according to the Arts Center.

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They were submitted by people of all ages from all walks of life, from postcard collectors to accomplished, emerging and amateur artists.

The cards cover a wide variety of topics including cityscapes, off-the-wall attractions, local mascots and lore, and everything in between. There are some very personal stories shared through the exhibition, including a man who submitted a postcard he’d created with a ring on it and used as a way to propose to his girlfriend at the Arts Center.

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Wisconsin Confidential complements the upcoming residency of renowned Wisconsin photography duo John Shimon and Julie Lindemann. While in residence at the Arts Center over the coming year, the pair will travel the state connecting with people to explore the sense of identity that comes from inhabiting a single place over a long period of time.

A culminating exhibition titled The Wisconsin Project will be on view at the Arts Center in October 2013.

Established in 1967, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a visual and performing arts complex in downtown Sheboygan, Wis. The Arts Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to innovative explorations in contemporary American art.

Its exhibitions focus on a wide range of art forms, with particular emphasis on and the work of self-taught artists, and folk artists as well as the breadth of contemporary work.

Photo courtesy: John Michael Kohler Arts Center

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