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It’ll have grandma’s old apple sign on it, parts of Springdale Farm’s antiquated farm equipment and the front end off a 1940s Ford dairy truck, and it’ll soon be rolling through the streets of Sheboygan serving up locally produced and prepared food and educating people about healthy eating.

On Saturday, a handful of community members attended an open house at Lakeshore Technical College to participate in the creation of the Culinary Art Car, a food demonstration truck that’s also a whimsical work of art.

Artist-in-residence Mac Maker and other volunteers worked to ready a standard box truck for the found or donated materials that soon will be fashioned onto the exterior of the truck. The gastronomic spectacle will travel to festivals, famer’s markets and other events this summer to educate the public on healthy eating.

“My goal is to inspire joy and whimsy with it,” Maker said. “I love using found materials because there is an inherent history that is imprinted on objects. …By having familiar objects on the car, I believe it will stir people’s emotions in positive ways.”

The Culinary Art Car project is part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Connecting Communities, an ongoing program that partners professional artists, local organizations and members of the community to complete large-scale art projects.

Beginning earlier this year, the Arts Center and its community partners began soliciting the donations that will eventually be fixed onto the vehicle.

“The donations were so important in this,” said Andrea Avery, community arts coordinator for the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. “Often some of the things that were donated were really treasures of people and so it becomes sort of this story of the community on four wheels.”

So far, Maker — one of two artists-in-residence the Arts Center brought in for the project — has been integral in the design and creation of the Culinary Art Car. He’s made multiple trips from his home in Los Angeles to the Sheboygan area, first to get to know the community in order to come up with the design, and now to build the vehicle.

He and the community volunteers began the Saturday open houses two weeks ago and they’ll continue them through July 12. The public is invited to attend.

“I love working with people and I love the whole process of collaborating,” Maker said. “It’s really amazing all the people so far who were inspired from the start and who inspired me. This truck definitely is a portrait of all the inspiration that they’ve imprinted on me.”

Artist-in-residence Robert Karimi of Kaotic Good will come on board July 19 for the Arts Center’s Midsummer Festival of the Arts to educate the public on healthy eating through entertaining performances and demonstrations.

The goal is to have the truck nearly finished for the Midsummer Festival of the Arts, and completed by the end of July, said Avery.

At that point, the vehicle will become a resource to a number of different organizations, she said.

As an example, Nourish — a farm-to-table organization that creates collaborations between local farmers and volunteers to share meals with families struggling to eat well — will use the vehicle for recipe demonstrations and food tastings at the Sheboygan Farmer’s Market, said Avery.

LTC plans to have students from various disciplines involved with the truck in an ongoing capacity, said LTC Vice President of Instruction Barb Dodge. Students in the welding and fabrication program already were involved by readying the truck for Maker’s arrival, and students in the culinary arts program will play a role in Karimi’s performances, she said.

The community is invited to be involved in an ongoing capacity as well, said Avery. Welders, builders, sewers, painters and the like can still be utilized for the building phase, and Karimi can utilize actors for performances once the vehicle is completed.

“We really wanted to make the truck like nothing anyone had ever seen,” Avery said. “It’ll be cool once a lot of the items are on there because hopefully people will be able to recognize and see their part in it.”

— Reach Kali Thiel at 920-453-5134

Get involved

Artist-in-residence Mac Maker is seeking donations of nautical items for the Culinary Art Car. To donate, volunteer or learn more about the Culinary Art Car, visit www.jmkac.org/index.php/connecting-communities/culinary-art-car, or contact Andrea Avery at aavery@jmkac.org or 920-458-6144.

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