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By Tara Woods

A Kendall Art Institute teacher, Patricia Constantine, eats away at the facade of the American Education System and the debt it causes in “Sineater”.

It was Constantine’s teaching background that inspired her ArtPrize entry that is on display at the the Collins Art Gallery at Grand Rapids Community College.

“I’ve been teaching since 1990,” Constantine said. “And I’ve seen the cost of education rise in a disgusting way.”

When conceptualizing her piece, she came across historical information about a sineater, which she described as “a person paid by a community to eat a meal in order to assume the sins of a person or family.”

“Something just clicked,” Constantine said. “The american education system is gluttonous. Student loans don’t cover anything, and my students leave with insurmountable debt. That is if they make it out, many have to quit their junior year because of the cost.”  

Constantine represents the likeness of President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in her ArtPrize entry.  Betsy DeVos’ son, Rick DeVos, is the founder of ArtPrize.

“I wasn’t taking aim at the DeVos’ themselves,” Constantine said. “They’ve done wonderful work, like the hospital. It’s just that they don’t know enough about education, and how the choices they are making are hurting students. Education needs to be changed, but not privatized.”

Constantine struggles with the education system, and the part that she plays in it.

“I stand in front of a classroom and tell them to continue to get an education and how it will help their future, she said. “And I believe in all of that, but at the same time I am scared for them. I am eating the sins of the American Education system.”

Half of all the proceeds from her work during Artprize 2017 will be donated to undergraduate students or students who are in their final year of College at Kendall Art Institute.

To check out Constantine’s work, visit the Collins Art Gallery on the fourth floor of the Main Building. More information is available on her website by clicking here.


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