Jim Cole received a Master’s of Fine Arts in sculpture from Cornell University, a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Minneapolis School of Art and an Associate degree in engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He taught Sculpture at Cornell University and has been a member of the Department of Furniture Design at RISD since 1997.
Cole’s work bridges the gap between sculpture and furniture and is in the permanent collections of many prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the American Craft Museum and the Arkansas Art Center. His work is also in many public collections, such as The General Mills Corporation, Gellert and Cutler, PC and Northern Duchess Hospital. His professional activities have included numerous solo and group exhibitions. Perhaps his most notable showing was in the Modern Metal Works exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993–94.
Cole is regularly represented at SOFA, New York and has been included in Art Basel/Miami since 2007. In 2006, he completed a commission for the University of Florida, Gainesville as a permanent installation in the courtyard of the Legal Information Center of the Law School at the University. In 2009 he was awarded a commission by the state of Vermont to construct an installation of outdoor seating and sculpture for the Vermont Archives. In the summer of 2011, he executed a commission for the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT. The work is a stainless steel table and seating elements permanently located in the newly created Freed/Rubenstein Memorial Garden. A dedication took place in August 2011. He has served as a juror for the Saltonstall Foundation and received grants from Artist Space, The Community Foundation in Vermont and The Elizabeth Foundation among others.