What Makes a Hero?- An Artist’s Perspective


What makes a hero?

Is it strength?



Athletic Prowess?


For Kendall College of Art and Design associate professor Donna St. John, it is a bit more ambiguous. Her solo work at Saugatuck Center for the Arts explores the full humanity of individuals considered to be heroes in her exhibit- Tribute of Authentic Heroism: Investigation of Grace, Vision, Clarity, and Purpose.

As part of this exhibit, Professor St. John worked with area high school students to explore themes of social justice and create works reflecting their own understanding of heroism, which will be exhibited along with her work.

What a wonderful opportunity for these students to wrestle with such an important topic, to learn from an accomplished artist and to have their works publicly displayed at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

Perhaps we can include in our exploration of heroism and social justice, those individuals who tirelessly serve to educate our next generation of thinkers, dreamers, and makers?

All educators should take a look at the link to the Kendall College of Art and Design article on professor St. John’s work for more inspiration. Perhaps this will travel?

Questions for Discussion

  1. What makes a hero?
  2. Why is it important to remember that heroes are human- with flaws and weaknesses?
  3. How did the ancient Greeks view heroes?
  4. How has our vision of heroism changed?
  5. How does art impact social change?
  6. What stylistic elements do you notice in St. John’s work?
  7. Who would be on your list of heroes?
  8. What else does this inspire you to “dream, learn, do?”


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