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Inspiration in Rockville Comes "Out of the Flood"

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...and with a new collection of works at the Katzen.
Stephanie Kaye
...and with a new collection of works at the Katzen.

Many people have had to deal with floods that frequent the DC region. For one local artist, losing his life's work to water meant finding a new muse. Don Kimes was in New York when he got the call. "My neighbor called at ten o'clock at night and said, 'There's water coming out your front door.' I said, 'That can't be. That's the second floor of the house.'"

By the time he returned to Rockville, the water on the first floor was chest-high. The art that was his life's work was destroyed. Stacks of family photos became soggy clumps of pulp - including ones of his mother, who had recently passed away. "I had spent virtually all of two weeks trying to peel these photos apart, trying to salvage something of the image. And then I thought, 'There may be a kind of beauty in these pieces.'"

Out of disaster, inspiration. Kimes created large, colorful prints of his ruined photos, touched up with paint, and hopes they inspire others. The resurrected canvasses make up the show "Penitementi: Out of the Flood," on exhibit at American University's Katzen Arts Center through May.

Stephanie Kaye reports...

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