Moving Through the Unimaginable

Celebrating the Strength of the Human Spirit

March 16 – May 26
Free admission | M-F 9-5

Opening Reception March 16 | 6:30-8:30 | cash bar

About Moving Through

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.

Sponsored by Kathleen Markland, Allegan County Community Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts.

In conjunction with the Children’s Advocacy Center, the Allegan County Corrections Center, and Sanford House in Grand Rapids, this exhibition reaches new collaborative heights. Inmates and students were invited by Donna to go through the rigors of learning a new skill, one that very few were accustomed to. Susan Fleming of West Michigan Works! says, “Miracles happen when kindness and compassion are met with the willingness and courage to step outside of ones comfort zone to explore the unknown.”

The willingness of the participating institutions represents a shift in
our national mindset relative to the rehabilitation of the human spirit. The idea to conduct an art therapy pilot program is also a testament to Donna’s expertise and dedication to human rehabilitation.

About The Artist

Donna St. John

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.

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