‘Henna Crowns of Courage’ portraits now a permanent display at Spectrum Health’s cancer center

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's been seen as a symbol of hope for many women going through chemotherapy and now the ArtPrize piece is on permanent display in Grand Rapids.

Henna Crowns of Courage is a group of henna tattoo artists, photographers and makeup artists who give elaborate henna crowns to women going through treatment for cancer. The photos taken of the women and their crowns are now a fixture at one of Spectrum Health's facilities and will act as a constant reminder to patients going there about the power of hope and love.

"It really reflects just survivorship and celebration of life and cancer patients and the glory that they bring," said Angie Ditmar, vice president of the Spectrum Health Cancer Program.

It now has a permanent home inside the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion for Spectrum Health.

"It's amazing to see just kind of where it started to where it is now," said henna artist Steve Stone.

Henna Crowns of Courage started as a way to highlight strong women in the community going through chemotherapy treatment. The henna crowns and photo shoots were a way to make them feel beautiful and powerful.

“They have the courage to choose love over fear,  they have the courage to let go of their hair when they are going through chemo, they have something they can look forward to,  they can see these women and know that these women are able to stand up and be okay with letting their hair go," said henna artist and Henna Crowns of Courage founder Amanda Joy Gilbert. "They know that they are in this position right now and have to battle it and these are their warrior marks.”

The permanent installation was unveiled Wednesday.

“To be able to come through a lobby like this after a diagnosis like that and see this, especially Alexandria there in the middle showing her defiance and strength, I personally believe that it would be inspirational" said Stone.

It'll now be a constant reminder for patients who step through the doors that they don't have to fight their battle alone.

“I had hoped that this would be something big and I’m really thankful that a lot of people have been touched by it as these women have touched my life and that this art form has touched my life in so many ways as well so I’m really thankful that more people are able to see it," said Gilbert.

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