Kevin Cole

b. 1960 Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Lives and works in Fairburn, GA

Selected Works

Atlanta, GA-based art professor and mixed media artist Kevin E. Cole was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on January 19, 1960 to Jessie and Sam Cole, Jr. He received his B.S. degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982; his M.A. degree in art education a year later, and his M.F.A degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1984.


Cole began his art career as an art teacher at Camp Creek Middle School in College Park, Georgia in 1985. At the same time, he also became an adjunct oprofessor at Georgia State University’s School of Art and Design where he remained until 1998. In 1990, Cole was chairperson of the visual and performing arts magnet program of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia until 1994. Later, in 2003, he became the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Westlake High School where created the school's first arts program. Cole’s artwork is well known for including imagery of neckties as symbols of power and emphasizes the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel. He incorporates patterns and textures from traditional African cloths to speak to human conditions and behaviors.


Cole's piece, “Increase Risk with Emotional Faith,” a mixed media wall sculpture inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. was acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened in  September, 2016. In 1994, Cole was commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company to create a fifteen story mural celebrating the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been featured in Who’s Who in Education and received the Award of Excellence for Public Art by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. His book "Kevin Cole Straight from the Soul: 25 Years in the Making," released in 2012, chronicles his evolution as an artist. His works are held in more than 2,000 public and private collections, including the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; King & Spalding, Atlanta, Georgia; IBM, White Plains, New York; and the private collections of former NBA player Michael Jordan; producer, songwriter, musician and film producer Dallas Austin; and Monica Pearson, renowned Atlanta television broadcast journalist.



Along Color Lines, Marta Hewett Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio (solo)


Plano Art Center Plano TX (solo)


Embassy: Istanbul Turkey, (Invitational)

North Carolina Central Art Museum, Durham, NC (solo)

Afri-COBRA Now Hearne Fine Arts, Little Rock, AR (group)


Thelma Harris Gallery, Oakland, CA (3 person)

ArtField, Lake City, SC (Juried)


Living off the Wall, 10th Street Gallery, St. Louis MO, (solo)

Art Basel Miami, Phantom Gallery, Miami, FL (group)

Traditions Re Define: the collection of Brenda and Larry Thompson, St. Louis University Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

LaGrange National Juried Exhibition XXVIII, LaGrange Museum of Art, LaGrange GA.


Outside the Boundaries Black & Abstract, Sam Gilliam, Alma Thomas, Romare Bearden, Curator Valarie Cassell Oliver, Kevin Cole Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX (invitational)

One Hundred Fifty Years of African American Art From the Collection of the David C. Driskell Center” Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati. OH

“Kevin Cole Straight From the Soul 25 Year Survey Traveling Exhibition

Curator Dr. Julie McGee, Weston Art Gallery Cincinnati, OH


And the Band Played On, Hearne Fine Arts, Little Rock AR

Kevin Cole Straight From the Soul, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, GA

The Southwest Art Center, Atlanta, GA

“Mixed Signals” Lafayette College, Allentown PA (solo)


 “ Seeking Higher Ground”, Delaware State University, Dover, DE (solo)

Georgia Artist Competition, Abernathy Art Center, Atlanta GA

Juror Michael Rooks, Curator of the High Museum of Art (juried)


” Protégé Sam Gilliam & Kevin Cole, The Harvey B. Gantt Center, Charlotte NC

LaGrange National XXXV Biannual, LaGrange Museum, LaGrange, GA (juried)

Corridor Gallery, New York, (invitational )


“African American Currents: Contemporary Art from the Bank of America at 40 Acres in Sacramento, CA ( Collection)

National Black Fine Art Show , New York (Group)


Golden Fine Arts, Denver, CO ( Group)

AfriCORBA: Liberated Images, Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse, NY (group)

National Black Fine Art Show, New York, NY (group)

In Context the Language of Abstraction, Abrons Art Center, New York, NY (invitational


Beneath the Sound of Color, Hearne Fine Arts, Little Rock AR (solo)

Dialogue with Color, Kevin Cole & Preston Sampson, WhiteSpace Gallery Winston Salem, NC, (Two-person)

Beneath the Surface, Embassy of Venezuela Washington DC (group)

Cubano International Gallery, Toulouse, France (group)

AFRICOBRA Forty Years, Hampton Museum , Hampton, VA (group)


Kevin Cole & Alonzo Davis, Old Dillard Museum, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

“Something old, Something new” Kevin Cole & Cedric Smith, Gallery Guichard, Chicago (Two person)

Different Way of seeing, the Noyles Museum of Art Oceansville, NJ (group)


Madison National Juried Art Exhibition, Madison GA: (juried)

Prints from the Collection of Robert & Jean Steele,( collection)

Yale University Gallery, New Haven, CT

University of Scranton, Scranton PA

College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

North Carolina Central, Durham, NC


Images of America, from the Collection of Darrell and

Lisa Walker (Collection)

Walton Art Center, Fayetteville AR

Hammonds House Galleries, Atlanta, GA

Tubman Museum of Art, Macon GA

Abstraction Revisited, International Visions Gallery, Washington DC, (group)

“Black Creativity’ Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL(juried)

“Successions “Prints from the collection of Jean & Robert Steele Yale University New Haven CT ( Group)


Mary Pauline Gallery, Augusta, GA (solo)

Jacob Lawrence and Kevin Cole, Francine Seders Gallery, Seattle, WA(two-person)

National Black Fine Art Show, Puck Building, New York, NY ( Selected artist)


Thelma Harris Gallery, Oakland, CA ( solo)

University of Maryland, College Park, GA (Collectors Collection)

Hampton Museum, Hampton University, Hampton VA (Juried)

Michael Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (Group)

Sander Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA

International Visions Gallery, Washington DC

Cress Gallery, Chattanooga, TN


African American Art Museum, Dallas, TX

“Absence of color”, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (Invitational)

“Will” Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA (Invitational)


Auction 2000, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ

Chicago Black Art Exhibition, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL (Group)

Third Annual National Black Art Exhibition, New York, NY (Group)

Dillard University, New Orleans, LA (Collaboration)

African-American Art Museum, Dallas, TX (Juried)

Art Center of the Ozark, Springdale, AR

Runaway Moon Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL


Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA,

Hammonds House Galleries, Atlanta, GA

Mary Pauline Gallery, Augusta, GA(solo)

Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, PA(group)

Arts & Cultural Center, Hollywood, FL (invitational)

Dell Pryor Gallery, Detroit, MI (Group)

621 Galleries, Tallahassee, FL (Juried)

Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego, CA(two-person)

Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA(solo)


Kevin Cole, Frank Stella, Sam Gilliam, John Scott, etc.

Brandywine Workshop, Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA (Invitational)

The Second Annual National Black Art Exhibition, New York City, NY(group)

Sande Webster Gallery, the Armory Show, New York (Group)

City Gallery East, Atlanta, GA (Invitational)