2011 ArtPrize Winner Reveals She Has Brain Tumor

Posted at 6:15 PM, May 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-28 05:58:24-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Mia Tavonatti, whose 2011 ArtPrize entry “Crucifixion” took top honors just hours after her mother’s death, has revealed that doctors have found a massive brain tumor in her skull.

In an 1,100-word statement on Facebook, Tavonatti says doctors found the five-centimeter benign tumor in the front-right part of her skull in March. In the post, she added a picture of an x-ray showing the tumor.

Tavonatti describes how the tumor has caused migraines and partial blindness in both eyes and says the tumor has been growing for so long that part of her skull will have to be removed, along with the tumor.

Tavonatti continues to display the positivity she’s become known for. She writes that the removal of this tumor – which she calls her “hunk of junk” – gives her a chance to refocus her entire life:

“I have been blessed with a HUGE opportunity to LET GO, and I am grateful that my life has reached the point in my spiritual healing process that I am actually ready to let this hunk of junk go! I have every intention of expanding into all that extra space with powerful, inspired, fearless, free, conscious and loving new cell growth and to allow the rest of my brain to relax and do its job better…and bigger! If you thought I accomplished a lot before, watch me now.”

Tavonatti’s win in ArtPrize 2011 for her 9′ x 13′ stained glass mosaic of Jesus Christ had come hours after her mother, Anna Bradley of Crystal Falls, Mich., died of pneumonia.

“I was hoping to be able to go up tomorrow and share this with her,” Tavonatti said after her win, “but…she’s here.”

ArtPrize released this statement Monday evening:

“The thoughts and prayers of the ArtPrize team go out to our friend, Mia, and her family as they face these challenges in the coming weeks and months. We wish Mia a fast and full recovery so that she can continue her creative endeavors.”

Tavonatti is set to have surgery in California on Thursday. She says she’s in the care of one of the nation’s top brain tumor specialists.