Director of Preservation at Kohler Foundation job opening! 


Visit to the Casa de las Ranas [The House of Frogs] and the Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery

Posted in Field Work, Found Objects


Jo Farb Hernández


During a quick spring break visit to Mexico, I was delighted, as always, by the wealth of unselfconscious and colorful aesthetic expressions I found virtually every time I turned my head. From the front perimeter wall of an auto parts warehouse in Mexico City - 




to an itinerant seller of brooms, mops, and hammocks in San Miguel de Allende - 




there is color and texture and movement everywhere. 

But the main attraction was the opportunity to visit Anado McLauchlin’s Casa de las Ranas [The Frog House] / Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery in the little village of La Cieneguita. McLauchlin and his husband Richard Schultz visited this relatively remote 2.5-acre site in 2001, and purchased it within two weeks – although their original idea had been to rent in the area for a year to see if they might like to live in Mexico on a long-term basis. Renovating the dilapidated two-story home that had been built in the form of a Swiss chalet, McLauchlin began what has become an ongoing work-in-progress, as little by little he is transforming the entire property into a complex and intriguing art environment.

image3-21-dsfExterior wall, Casa de las Ranas

Reflecting his decades of travels around the world, his aesthetic expressions riff off of motifs from native and tribal arts from around the world in a unique and idiosyncratic way: the Hindu deity Ganesh, for example, has taken on decidedly Mexican characteristics. Combining local Talavera tile with pieces of glass, mirrors, shells, found objects, paper cut-outs, local festival props, and crafts, all set against deeply saturated painted backgrounds, the site features several buildings as well as whimsical freestanding altars, mosaic stairways, a completely ornamented outhouse with compostable toilet, gardens, and a 150-meter (almost 500 feet) long wall sheathed in a variety of improvised images from McLauchlin’s dreams and visual encounters. 


image4-23McLauchlin with his outhouse with compostable toilet


image5-25Exterior walkway


image6-27Interior of the Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery


image7-29Kismet Street (detail)


image8-31Kismet Street (detail)


image9-33Home interior (detail)


image10-35Studio (detail)


image11-37Jo Farb Hernández interviewing McLauchlin. Photo: Thomas K. Seligman


The entire complex is a thoughtful and compelling site that warrants a visit, and with a requested donation McLauchlin offers public tours three times weekly. McLauchlin and Schultz are warm and welcoming, and I encourage you all to visit on your next trip across our southern border!


Read Anado McLauchlin’s story and see more images here!


image12-39Anado McLauchlin, April 3, 2019

 Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Jo Farb Hernández 

Job Opportunity: Kohler Foundation - Director of Preservation

Posted in job opportunities, Preservation News


Director of Preservation - Kohler Foundation Location: Kohler, WI  

Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Director of Preservation leads and grows Kohler Foundation’s active preservation program. This includes all phases of preservation projects, including the search, identification, acquisition, and preservation of art collections and art environments. The Director of Preservation is involved in the coordination of the work of art conservators, museum professionals, technicians, contractors, and interns to complete the projects in a timely and professional manner with respect for budgets and other financial targets. The Director coordinates the work of the preservation team, including KFI preservation staff, interns, assistants, technicians, and vendors. The Director of Preservation is also the primary liaison internally with accounting and externally with art appraisers. 


Individual must have project management experience, flexibility, high proficiency with computer software, excellent interpersonal skills, and the ability to interact with individuals from a variety of fields of discipline and backgrounds. Must have a strong interest in art and preservation initiatives.


• Provides leadership for the Kohler Foundation preservation program. Takes the lead role in identifying potential projects and negotiating with recipients. The director, with preservation managers, prepares proposals and strategizes restoration plans. This is a “hands on” position and involves face-to-face meetings with artists/families and studio visits including working on in situ restoration projects.
• Manages the relationship with the preservation committee, including setting regular meetings and establishing lines of communication. Works closely with Executive Director to present potential projects to the preservation committee and prepares project proposals for board approval.
• Coordinates the preservation process for all preservation projects, including supervision of staff, contract employees, interns, and coordination of all resources. Communicates clear specifications for all necessary work.
• Strict adherence to budgets, financial targets, and timelines is critical. Maintains an awareness of non-cash financial targets for all projects and adheres to KFI financial models.
• Sees that accurate records of all phases of the project and a permanent project file, including signed proposals, acquisition documents, declarations of gift, appraisals, etc. are maintained.
• Oversees all materials for the appraisal process. Works closely with staff and appraisers to provide needed documentation and background information.
• Responsible for preservation budgets. Works closely with the accounting staff to keep estimates as accurate and timely as possible.
• Prepares a wide variety of presentations, reports, and spreadsheets on a frequent basis. Contributes to Annual Meeting book. Writes annual meeting narrative for preservation.
• Periodically travels to preserved sites to maintain contact with past project recipients. Shares best practices, coordinates collaborative efforts, and maintains a strong relationship with site directors.
• Occasionally makes presentations on topics related to art preservation and completed projects.
• Works to establish a network of outside professionals: curators, appraisers, conservators, artists, museum directors, etc.
• Works collaboratively with SPACES staff to provide information and expertise on art sites, artists, and availability of archives, photographs and other materials.



Supervisory Relationships
• Reports to Executive Director
• Manages KFI Preservation Staff
• Supervises the work of contract employees and others
•Works closely with interns and casual labor to provide direction Organization Relationships
• Constant contact with all KFI staff
• Frequent contact with KFI Preservation Committee and other board members
• Regular contact with staff of John Michael Kohler Arts Center and other museum professionals
• Frequent contact with art conservators and other contract employees
• Regularly works with outside experts



• Bachelor’s degree in related field required, Master’s degree preferred.

• Substantial experience in the field of art or architectural preservation with knowledge of preservation ethics and best practices.
• Arts management experience desired.
• Exceptional organizational and project management skills desired along with attention to detail.
• Must have excellent follow through, be attentive to detail and have familiarity or experience with art related projects.
• Strong ability to multi-task, self-direct work and prioritize.
• Strong interpersonal skills, sensitivity to others, and comfort with public speaking.
• Proficiency in MS Office applications.
This is a full-time, salaried position, with benefits. The Director of Preservation is an employee of the Kohler Foundation and not Kohler Company. Kohler Foundation is a private, non-profit charitable organization, committed to the preservation of art environments and important collections across the U.S. We also support art and education initiatives in the state of Wisconsin. To learn more, please


 Apply here



EOA Annual General Assembly 2019



25.-26. May 2019 by INUTI in Sala and Stockholm, SE
The conference on the topic “Ǝ Quality” will continue the emphasis on “The Artist´s Voice”
It will explore who decides what is good art and for what reasons and what is meant by ‘quality’ in outsider art. The conference will also focus on artists’ rights and the importance and challenge of building equality in the art world and how can we support inclusion. According to Inuti, the prerequisite for this is to create equal opportunities for all artists making our culture richer for all. We hope our conference E-Quality can be a tool for important discussions about quality in Outsider Art and equality in the wider art world.

Philly's Mosaic Man, Isaiah Zagar, celebrates 80 years!


Join Isaiah Zagar at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens as he rings in 80 years!


After a week of celebratory programming, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens is throwing a party to celebrate Philly’s Mosaic Man, most reknowned for the Magic Gardens, though his work can be seen on over 100 other buildings around Philadelphia, including The Painted Bride, a mosaic building facade in the news over the past year as supporters of Zagar’s work put forth effort to historically designate after the current occupant annouced they would be vacating the building — putting the work in potential jeoprady. (Read a response on the denial of the designation here: A Letter From Emily Smith)


On Monday, the gardens will be serving cake and raffling off an original Zagar mosaic to celebrate his birthday. Zagar will be in attendance, along with PMG director Emily Smith. Attendees there from noon until 1:00 p.m. will also have a chance to see the 75-pound Mummers suit that Zagar mosaicked in collaboration with the Golden Sunrise NYA

Spanning half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

For more information, visit


zagar-birthday-celebration-mppIsaiah Zagar and Michael Carwile, the captain of the Golden Sunrise Mummers Association in Philadelphia, featuring the Mummers suit they collaboratively made. Aimee Cicero, 2019.

See more of Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Gardens on SPACES!



In memory of Silvio Barile, creator of Italian-American Museum

Posted in Self-Taught Arts in the News



Silvio Luigi Barile, creator of the Historic Artistic Italian-American Museum in Redford Township, MI, passed away on February 16, 2019 at the age of 80 years old. After immigrating to the United States from Italy with his family in 1954, Barile opened a pizzeria and pastry shop that he later transformed into a dense collection of artwork that celebrated the cultures of Italy and America. The sculptures quickly outgrew the pizzeria and expanded into the back patio and woods behind the shop, and soon word spread, inspiring visitors from near and far to come to see the artwork and hear Barile expound his opinions about Italian and American culture. As of this writing the site remains extant, with his heirs supportive of his work, although questions regarding future maintenance and financial obligations remain.




To read more about Barile, visit his environment page here:

Internship Opportunity at American Folk Art Museum

Posted in job opportunities


Curatorial Intern—Spring/Summer 2019

The American Folk Art Museum is seeking part-time interns for Spring/Summer 2018 for its 20th & 21st Century Self-Taught Art Curatorial Department. This position is open to students enrolled in a Master or a PhD program, interested in careers in art museums. Please note that this is an unpaid internship; credit toward class may be given if applicable. Work days and hours are flexible; however, a minimum commitment of eight hours per week for at least ten weeks is required.


  • Assist the curator in research for two upcoming large exhibitions


Qualifications/Skills Required:

  • Strong writing and organizational skills
  • Previous research experience
  • Ability to work independently and with acute attention to detail
  • Interest in self-taught artists
  • Computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Office, Excel, and TMS
  • Student in art history and anthropology preferred


To apply: Please email a cover letter and resume (two pages max.) to the attention of Curator Valérie Rousseau at Indicate “Curatorial Internship – 20th & 21st Century Self-Taught Art” in the subject line.

Coco's Palais Idéal Paintings




A treasure trove of paintings of the renowned Ferdinand Cheval, known as the Facteur Cheval, the legendary postal carrier who created the spectacular Palais Idéal in Hauterives,  France, have been rediscovered. Some thirty works in oil on canvas, these paintings by the painter Coco were first displayed at the Palais Idéal in 1987. Coco was fascinated by Cheval’s work, and the paintings portray not only the Facteur himself but also his family and details of the Palais. The image used in the poster is the first known color portrait of Cheval.



SPACES Honors Lyn Kienholz, Trustee Emerita

Posted in SPACES News


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our Trustee Emerita, Lyn Kienholz, who died at her home in the Hollywood Hills on January 25, 2019. She was 88 years old.


A forceful arts advocate, Lyn was involved in the nascent postwar art scene in Los Angeles as she worked at the seminal Ferus Gallery and married artist Ed Kienholz (1966-1973). She met SPACES founder Seymour Rosen at the Ferus; he served as their staff photographer, documenting the exhibitions and installations of the then-unsung artists who would go on to stretch the definition of contemporary art in the 1950s and ‘60s. Lyn felt strongly that California artists hadn’t received the visibility or support that they deserved, and she founded the California/International Arts Foundation to remedy that lack; under the auspices of the C/IAF she organized and curated several exhibitions in Europe, including at the Pompidou Center for the Arts in Paris. She famously crossed genre areas in both her advocacy and her curatorial practice, championing self-taught artists as well as those with formal academic training in her exhibitions and publications.


Following Rosen’s death in 2006, Lyn reached out to me and supported our early fight to ensure that all of the materials in SPACES archives were maintained together, so that they could be studied and understood in the holistic way that Rosen had approached all arts and cultural expressions. She formally joined our Board in 2006, providing wise counsel and support over that difficult transition. Lyn’s great gift was the ability to foster connections among individuals who might not otherwise come into contact with each other, and some of the folks that I met through her - most connected to the mainstream art world rather than our own more circumscribed sphere - became and remain staunch supporters of SPACES to this day.


Donations in Lyn Kienholz’s memory may be made to SPACES; please contact me at for further information.


Jo Farb Hernández


Become a volunteer docent at the Hartman Rock Garden!



The Hartman Rock Garden is offering a professionally-designed program to train people to give tours of this landmark art environment! Over three Saturday mornings sessions in March, learn the incredible story of Ben Hartman’s Historical Rock Garden and how it fits into the larger Visionary Art Environment world. Explore the inspirations that motivated Ben to build the garden, the materials and techniques that he used, and the process that it took to restore the garden to its 1930s appearance. Go behind the scenes at the site to examine the molds and parts that Ben used to make his artistic creations and visit the nearby stream where he gathered much of his rock and stone.


Upon completion of the program, docents will have the opportunity to share knowledge with visitors from around the globe. No prior experience needed. The time commitment is flexible and will vary month to month, likely ranging from one to four hours per month, so even people with busy schedules can find a way to contribute their talents!
This docent training is part of a larger plan to begin offering regular guided tours at the site. Tours will be offered at least once per week in warm weather months. As our volunteer base grows, we plan to increase the number of tours offered and also begin offering some special thematic and behind-the-scenes tours. In addition to our regularly scheduled tours, the garden receives numerous requests for tours by appointment from coach tour groups and regional clubs.


Training Cost: $10, which covers training materials, docent manuals, and refreshments. This is discounted from $25 with support from the Greater Springfield CVB. In order to successfully complete the training, please plan to attend all three sessions.


First Session: March 2nd from 9:00am to Noon
Second Session: March 9th from 9:00am to Noon
Third Session: March 16th from 9:00am to 12:30pm


About the Hartman Rock Garden:

The Hartman Rock Garden, located at 1905 Russell Avenue in Springfield, Ohio, is one of the nation’s revered visionary art environments, an outsider art phenomenon where self-taught artists construct fascinating worlds out of concrete, metal, stone, and whatever else they can find. Constructed between 1932 and 1944, it was the vision of local foundry worker Ben Hartman and his wife Mary. Starting small with the creation of a cement fishing pond, over the next decade, with time, cement and thousands and thousands of rocks, Hartman filled his yard in Springfield, Ohio with over fifty fascinating sculptures and figures. After years of neglect, the Wisconsin-based Kohler Foundation saved the garden in 2008. Working with the local community, folk art conservators began the process of restoring the garden to its original condition. In 2010, local citizens worked with the Kohler Foundation to form the Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden, a not-for-profit organization, which oversees the maintenance, preservation, and interpretation of this landmark art environment.


To enroll in this program, please contact:

Kevin Rose, Curator


Registration will close on Wednesday, February 27.

Information sheet here: hartman-docent-training-2019



Chris Vo’s Flower House in Cleveland has been destroyed against his will!


One year ago, Chris Vo, creator of Cleveland’s spectacular Flower House, was promised a reality television show about his elaborately decorated art environment by a national producer. The promise involved a “free facelift” for the house, and, as Vo thought he was being treated in good faith, he and his partner signed an Access and Work Scope Agreement, which is what they were told was a standard contract for filming, allowing the crews to enter the home. His partner even thought it might be a chance, down the road, to get his own show about dancing.


The actual “reality,” however, was that while Vo and his partner were housed by the network in a local hotel, the house was stripped of all of its decorations, and the lawn’s manicured tree and shrubs were uprooted and hauled away, along with statuary, ornaments, the outdoor grill, and garden structures. The Reality TV producer was apparently encouraged by an individual who had been in the process of selling his father’s rental home across the street, and was further supported by “helpful” neighbors who were supposedly placing the ornaments into storage boxes; while it had been promised that his property would be only temporarily removed and later would all be returned, most of it ended up in a dumpster, stolen, or destroyed. Following the stripping of the Flower House, the aforementioned individual sold his father’s property, previously valued at $90,000, for $130,000. 


To make matters worse, instead of a program celebrating the Flower House, it turned out to be a show about flipping houses. When they saw what was happening to the property, the couple wanted to cancel and move back into the house, despite its drastic change. In fact, only three days into filming, Vo pleaded with the producer, “Please, can I have my house back!” but he was told “It’s just a TV show, just do what I say and you’ll get your house back.” Vo and his partner were also told they had to do what they were told or they would be held responsible for all of the production costs of the show. 


After the destruction of his years of work, Vo was inconsolable and the couple split up. Now, one year later, despite the ongoing emotional pain over what was done to him, his home, and his relationship, Vo has decided to try to resurrect the Flower House.


The Reality TV producer and the cable network aired the show on March 27, 2018 under the title “Make My Neighbor Move,” using footage of Vo and his partner, although they had refused to sign an Appearance Release permitting them to do so. Angry and heartbroken, Vo asked for monetary reimbursement for repairs to the house and for the theft and destruction of his property. Offers were made by the network, but their highest offer did not even come close to covering the repair costs, let alone reimburse Vo for the loss of his personal property. The producer and others at the cable network have broken off communications with Vo.


A grass-roots GoFundMe account has been created to help replace the lights and other decorations and retain legal assistance in an effort to hold accountable those who participated in the destruction of the Flower House. For more information and to make a donation, go to


Jo Farb Hernández



exteriorExterior, January 2017, Chris Vo.flower-houseThe Flower House at night, May 2016, Fred Scruton.




Browse Blog Archives by Month

Visit to the Casa de las Ranas [The House of Frogs] and the Chapel of Jimmy Ray Gallery
Field Work, Found Objects

Job Opportunity: Kohler Foundation - Director of Preservation
job opportunities, Preservation News

EOA Annual General Assembly 2019

In memory of Silvio Barile, creator of Italian-American Museum
Self-Taught Arts in the News

Coco's Palais Idéal Paintings

SPACES Honors Lyn Kienholz, Trustee Emerita

Chris Vo’s Flower House in Cleveland has been destroyed against his will!

Job Opening at Craft & Folk Art Museum Los Angeles, CA: Manager of Communications and Exhibitions
job opportunities

Nitt Witt Ridge Enters the Real Estate Market!
Take Action, Threatened Environments

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Celebrates 1 Year!
Preservation News, Take Action

The SPACES website allows you to save your favorite art environments and share them with your friends or colleagues. Create your own portfolio of your favorites from environments in the online collection.

Send them to your friends, post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag #spacesarchives 

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

Add Page to my spaces