Anti-Icons: The Conflict Between Science and Religion

Each day seems to bring news stories where a religious group disavows science or a scientist attacks religion.

What is one to think? Which is right?

Of course, this is not a new phenomenon as revealed in Kendall College of Art and Design professor Jay Constantine work “Anti-Icons.”

These visually striking paintings are laden with symbolism and images of unorthodox and heretical thinkers of their historical era.

I would encourage you to check out these images if you are looking for a brief pause in your day to contemplate this perennial conflict and to simply appreciate the beauty of this work and to celebrate a great artist inviting us to look, to remember, and to imagine.

Educators could use these works in their art, world history or English classes, showing one of the works and asking students to reflect or write on them, or to use as a source for a class discussion.

To view Jay Constantine’s “Anti-Icons” please click on this link to the Kendall College of Art and Design website.

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?”