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ArtPrize; The Story of Rain, chapter 9

ArtPrize Sculpture Dedicated at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

By Rachael Recker | The Grand Rapids Press
 Rick DeVos, founder of ArtPrize, and Anna Donahue wait to speak at the dedication ceremony.
Anna Donahue, far left, talks about her sculpture, Rain, at Mary Free Bed.

GRAND RAPIDS -- A CAT scan at age 1 revealed that now-28-year-old Emily Donahue suffered a stroke at about 2 months old. A bronzed ArtPrize sculpture depicting Donahue, dedicated Monday morning to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, reveals a sense of hope and inspiration to future patients.

"I felt that any patient to be wheeled into this area ... they would think, 'If she can do it, I can do it," said Betsy Mathiesen, a Mary Free Bed Guild member who headed the fundraising campaign on behalf of the guild to purchase the $18,000 ArtPrize '09 sculpture with private donations.

"Rain," created by Emily's aunt -- Grand Rapids artist Anna Donahue -- was bronzed and re-positioned in the same location in which it was displayed during the inaugural art competition. Mary Free Bed will be an ArtPrize venue again this year.

The outdoor sculpture of a young female holding a leaf in her bent right arm -- Emily's paralyzed arm -- can been seen on the lawn off the hospital's main entrance off Wealthy Street.  Emily, of Comstock Park, received physical therapy treatments at Mary Free Bed at age 3, 8 and 16.

"I think it's more beautiful," Anna Donahue said about the sculpture being bronzed -- a $10,000 endeavor -- for its permanent home at the hospital. "The coloring is more natural."
ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos spoke at the dedication, expressing surprise at the stories that continue to emerge from the not-yet-year-old art competition.

"It's amazing to see everything that has come out of it," DeVos said. "I'm just happy that we could be a catalyst for this."

 For more information, visitartprize.org or The Press' ArtPrize site.

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