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Pure Michigan

Moving Through the Unimaginable

Works by Donna F. St. John and our West Michigan community

March 16 - May 26

Opening Reception March 16, 6:30PM


With dedication, therapy, and empathy from society, individuals can find peace through life's adversity. This show – equal parts exhibition, community education, and outreach – awakens consciousness and celebrates individuals who have fought through unimaginable hardship while cultivating hope, grace, and charity in their lives.


The exhibition combines portraiture, sculpture, installation, community outreach, and viewer participation in an effort to explore the process of healing. While researching the effect of trauma on the body, Donna F. St. John (an award winning educator and artist), began collecting stories from community members and commemorating their trials through art. Portraits of eight community members are presented with their stories, and accompanied by a powerful installation using narratives of struggle and hope by several anonymous community members. Throughout the duration of the exhibition each story will be symbolically and literally opened, releasing 300 pounds of sand onto the floor in a powerful visual of freedom. Participants and viewers will be given the opportunity to reflect on their own personal adversity and contribute to the fabric of the exhibition.


Donna St. John is a professor of Art Education at Kendall College of Art + Design. Before becoming a professor, Donna taught in the K-12 setting for 27 years.  She has been named Teacher of the Year by two separate districts and has been recognized with the "Excellence in Education Teacher Award" nine times. She has nationally and internationally published curriculum.  


Outreach programming partners Allegan County Correctional Offices, Children's Advocacy Center and more.


Sponsored by Kathleen Markland, Allegan County Community Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Nines Framing Studio