Don Baum was a well-known artist and curator in Chicago and was the former chair of the art department at Roosevelt University. He is recognized as a dedicated supporter of emerging local artists, and he had an enduring impact on the Chicago art scene. Don Baum, along with his contemporary artist and teacher Ray Yoshida, put things in place to allow young artists to flourish creatively. While director at the Hyde Park Art Cetner, Baum encouraged and exhibited young artists like Jim Nutt, Roger Brown, Karl WIrsum, Gladys Nilsson, and Ed Pashke.
Baum was an artist in his own right as well. He worked with found items and his palette included doll parts, game boards, bread boards, old paint-by-number paintings found at garage sales, and other miscellany. His last important series, Domus, were small houses he made out of everything from cutting boards to Chinese-checker sets to paintings of Jesus. A large collection of pieces by Don Baum have been conserved and gifted to the permanent collection of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.