Don Kimes divides his time between Italy, Chautauqua, NY and Washington, DC. Since 1993 he has worked extensively in Umbria, where Kimes says he goes "to have consecutive thoughts in a world where it is increasingly difficult to have the chance to simply focus."
His work has been presented in more than 150 group and solo exhibitions internationally including Denise Bibro, Frederieke Taylor, Claudia Carr, Kouros, Stephan Gang, Lucky Strike, NY Studio School, Prince Street, and Arsenal galleries, National Academy of Design, Ammo Artists Space, Brooklyn Museum of Art (all New York City), Corcoran Gallery of American Art, Washington Project for the Arts, National Academy of Sciences, Katzen Museum of Art, Fondo del Sol, Hillyer Art Space, Elizabeth Roberts Gallery, Constitution Hall (all Washington, DC), Baltimore Museum of Art, Rocca Paolina (Perugia), Living Art (Milan), America Haus (Munich), Casa di Cultura (Villahermosa, Mexico), and many others.
He has received awards to be Artist in Residence at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy (2009), to live and work on the island of Kauai (2002), a grant to spend a year painting near Todi, Italy (1994-95); a US Department of the Interior award to be artist in residence at Yellowstone (1993); a grant from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes to work in southern Mexico (1993); Eisenhower Foundation and Chautauqua Institution support to be a United States Visual Arts representative in the 1986 Jurmala Cultural Exchange in the Soviet Union; and studio residency awards from the Millay Foundation (1985) and the Assensore di Cultura in Corciano, Italy (1999 through 2003). A 2001 finalist to be Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, he was also a recipient of Medici Medals at the 2001 and 2003 Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art, to which he had been invited by critic Barbara Rose.
In a 1996 catalogue essay Kimes wrote about the relationship between nature and culture saying Italy affords the opportunity “to think about culture, nature and the passage of time . . . In the end nature takes everything back”. Seven years later a flood destroyed his home, studio and much of his work. A year later he wrote about "the loss of nearly all of the works on paper that I have ever done - 25 years worth - as well as videos and thousands of photos of my family and my art, most of the slides recording all of my work, five filing cabinets full of all of my writing and other papers, the computer and all of the back up=2 0disks, and many other elements of my life’s work. It was like the record of my existence had been erased. Nature took everything back, but my work is now based on those destroyed images. Through them color form and structure combine with nature, time, memory and rebirth. But that’s what my work always sought. It’s just more clear now."
Since 1986 Kimes has been Artistic Director in the Visual Arts at the Chautauqua Institution (VACI) in New York State. He has been a Professor of Art at American University in Washington, DC since 1988 and held the Department Chairmanship there for 11 years. Previously he was Program Director at the Studio School in New York City, where he also taught painting and drawing for 10 years. He has been a guest artist at the International School of Art in Umbria, the Universidad Juarez Autonoma in Mexico, Riga Academy of Art in Latvia, the NY Studio School program in Rome, Harvard, Dartmouth, Bard, Carnegie Mellon, UC Davis, Cleveland Institute of Art, Parsons, Maryland College of Art, Syracuse, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cooper Union, and many others.