Lyme Disease Survivor to Celebrate Healing at Art Loop Show

Photographer Sarah Davenport, who grew up in Wilmington, will show her work at Chelsea Tavern Tavern as part of Art Loop this Friday, October 4.

Lyme disease can create neurological effects that disable a person for a lifetime. When Ursuline-educated Sarah Davenport was bedridden (and near-death) with almost perpetual all-day seizures in 2013, it was hard for her loved ones to imagine what her recovery might look like.

It certainly was not in the mind’s eye of anyone — but maybe Sarah — that she would be taking a giant leap into a new life in Hawaii five years later and giving back to her fellow humans in the form of practicing the healing arts.

The 40-year-old professional photographer considers her recovery from late-stage neurological Lyme disease to be miraculous and transformational. Like others who’ve suffered severe health issues, Sarah has taken stock of her life. And she’s decided that moving 5,000 miles away might do her some good.  


Sarah, known also as Stär Zen Wave, is throwing a farewell party for herself, and in doing so, working to rehome her artistic legacy in the dwellings of Delawareans for whom her body of work is historically meaningful.

With ALOHA • ALOHA, part of the October Art Loop in Wilmington, taking place at Chelsea Tavern on October 4, she invites art lovers to: “Come say GOODBYE as I say HELLO to my new life on the Garden Isle of Kauai!”

Photography from Sarah Davenport’s upcoming show

Chelsea has been home to a significant collection of Sarah’s Market Street-themed photography for many years. This grouping includes numerous shots of the pre-renovation interior of the Queen Theater; shots that less than a handful of photographers were permitted to capture. Others document Wilmington’s evolution from ghost town to burgeoning hotspot. Burning Man, the annual desert pilgrimage, is the subject of other work.

Sarah has been an artist and seeker since birth. Her archives are rich and deep. And while selling her art is certainly a move toward eliminating the healthcare-related debt she unsurprisingly incurred while fighting for her life, and creating a nest egg for her new tropical paradise—there’s an even more practical reason for the quick sale:

Hawaii’s climate is particularly challenging for preserving ones dry-climate collectibles.

Sarah says, “My famous kelly green leather biker jacket? I can’t even take that with me.”

The fiftieth state’s desirable lushness comes with a heavy dose of perpetual humidity that would harm so many of her favorite treasures that she hopes other people will, as Marie Kondo would say, find joy in.

The art on display at Chelsea is framed in museum-quality glass. She hopes most of it will end up on the walls of people who will love and cherish it and pass it down to future generations.

For a long time following her diagnosis of Lyme disease, Sarah didn’t know whether she would in fact get a second chance. Her healing process was fraught with failed attempts to treat the disease — many therapies just did not work.


Some of her effort, once the seizures were under control and she regained her ability to walk, included shamanic rituals in jungle settings, something that brought to light layers of complex PTSD. So while healing her body, this one-time foster child also began to address latent memories not previously addressed by the healing she’d already done so far in her young life.

Her healing arts work is calling upon her life experiences and background of art, music, writing, dance activism and production management. (She was once managing director of World Café Live at the Queen.)

She now lives and works on an organic vegan permaculture homestead in a substance-free community with tenets of love, joy and deep holistic healing. The group emphasizes healthy living, holding space, environmental efforts, ecstatic dance and conscious co-creation to help bring about change.

(And any skeptics of healing arts who knew Sarah before simply need to see her now. A natural beauty who always had a youthful look, she belies her calendar age. Whatever she’s eating and drinking and doing to take care of her physical shell, count us in!)

ALOHA • ALOHA starts at 5pm in the downstairs of Chelsea Tavern, 821 N. Market Street. The evening is free and includes a tropical house set by DJ Zip and some complimentary island-themed hors d’oeuvres and Makana mocktails. A silent auction, raffle and prizes will round out the event. Free limited edition 11×17 Burning Man posters will be offered to guests while supplies last.

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About the Contributor

JulieAnne Cross

JulieAnne Cross

JulieAnne Cross has built a career around making her home state a fun place to live, working with restaurateurs, festivals, artists and arts organizations to bring people together for good times.