Now known as Central Middle School , Kokomo High School was once attended by Harris “Misch” Kohn, who graduated in 1934. Kohn credited Kokomo as important to his development as an artist. His elementary and high school art teacher Bernice McKinley aided him in developing as an artist. “She helped to inspire Kohn and others who were destined to become artists and teachers.” After graduating from Kokomo High School, he went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts degree from John Herron School of Art in 1939, which is about 65 miles south of Kokomo, in Indianapolis. It was at Herron that his classmates dubbed him Misch, which stuck for the rest of his life. He signed some of his early work as Harris Mischa Kohn, H. Misch Kohn, and Harris Misch Kohn. At Herron, he eventually studied printmaking with Francis Chapin and Max Kahn, who were from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Teachers at Herron were reported to be uninspired by Misch and his work. Misch felt the education lacked instruction in modern art including its techniques. The newly introduced printshop at Herron fascinated Kohn. He helped instructors install the presses and set up the studio, where he came to spend all of his time. Those experiences, along with his own study of the modernist movement, altered the course of his life and career. He was the first to take the art of woodblock printing from a private, hand-held experience to a public scale. “The thing that is amazing about his work is that it can be seen as a short course in American printmaking history,” said his niece Jo Farb Hernández, who is also the director/curator of the Thompson Gallery and professor at San Jose State University and author of a book about Kohn.