Jesse Howard created a large environment of provocative political and religious hand-lettered signs on his property in Fulton, MO. His signs bore traces of his varied life experiences as he interpreted Bible verses and commentary on the actions and opinions of local, state, and national politicians. While not always understood or appreciated by his neighbors, Howard’s signs are revered in the world of self-taught art. His work can be found in many private collections and museums, including the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and the American Art Museum of the Smithsonian.
Jesse Howard’s signs embellished his 20-acre property, and he often used found items like old corn planters, window shades, re-purposed wood and other items in his art. His work is regularly exhibited and has been in major shows.
Kohler Foundation was fortunate to be able to acquire a most impressive collection of Jesse Howard works from Artspace, the museum of the Kansas City Art Institute. Clearly, this is among the best and largest collections of Howard’s work. The collection included well over 100 individual signs and several large sculptural pieces, along with a wealth of archival materials and video.
The major portion of the collection was gifted, after conservation treatment by Parma Conservation, to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Other gifts have been made to or in process to the Nelson Atkins Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Metropolitan Art Museum, among others.