Fact vs. Fiction

“The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” – Oscar Wilde

Bemidji Beaver Sculpture Painting Project 2010

Catie Belleveau wrote a grant to the George W. Neilson foundation which purchased the 10 fiberglass beavers.  It was made possible by Catie. The Beaver blank was chosen for the project by a vote of the COMMUNITY SURVEY that was promoted by the local media.

Today I received an email regarding this controversy and terrible travesty we are dealing with. Being mocked for this entire thing. I was told that instead of defining “”pornographic””– I should have defined “”beavers””. Firstly, the beaver image was chosen by a community survey and not to mention our university–Bemidji State University mascot is a Beaver. We are the BSU Beavers.

The writer of this email suggests that the beaver blank is already pornographic by the definition of “beaver” and even more so by putting the Mother Earth Goddess on as “”art”” (all words in quotes are quoted as seen by writer) .  Our city of Bemidji has a college mascot of a beaver, a local sports bar was named the Toasty Beaver’s and was named by a teenager for cheersing to our Beaver’s (our athletes of the BSU Beaver Athletic Teams), can I ask what is wrong with having a beaver blank for a sculpture walk and then deeming it “pornographic” and removing it? What is wrong with naming a bar with such. We support our college athletics. Yes, people will snicker at the thought of a beaver, or a name of a bar. Let them. That is not the sole issue or why we are dealing with this I don’t think. Some people just don’t like what they see and don’t really try and see the entire picture instead of where ever their mind is at that time. Not all people see beauty, true beauty, true art. Some are too narrow minded. I feel pity for those who cannot see how beautiful Gaea is. I feel bad for anyone who cannot see more than whats in front of them. Try feeling. Try seeing. Try hearing.

What I thought was funny after reading the article on the Star Tribune site was one city council member who was female did NOT feel offended and NOR did she feel that it was supposed to resemble a pornographic image. But the other city council member who was male saw something pornographic. Regardless, it is NOT right to remove a sculpture because there was 20 complaints. 20?? Seriously, to remove without a second thought….. to make such a drastic decision as such but to then give an option to modify the piece. I didn’t know that 20 people counted for a city with at least 11,000 people population. Why? I see nothing wrong with it. I showed a ton of people today who had NO knowledge of this current travesty and they kept asking me what was obscene about it? What was pornographic?  That is exactly my point. Art is meant to be interpreted how ever that viewer wants to see it. You can depict anything from a piece of art. But only that artist knows truly what she/he was feeling at that EXACT moment when that piece was created. There should be no censorship. It is not graphic or pornographic, nor obscene, nor inappropriate.

This is a serious matter. I could care less what the definition of “beaver” is. We are the BSU beavers. Amazing artists, with amazing talents were chosen to design these and paint them.

More information regarding the grant funded project may be found at: http://thisismytownbemidji.com/?p=318

Also, if you haven’t yet had a chance– please swing by the poll on the Pioneer link:


In order to vote:

You can log in with facebook but you must then create an account for free and after it sends an email that you have to click and verify it. Once you have verified your email; log in with username and password and then vote.

Love, Peace, and Friendship.

Shanna Mae

Let’s bring Gaea back to the Sculpture Walk. Good night.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Chris Penny
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 21:59:51

    I’ve been brewing over this controversy for sometime, and now I have some coffee. There’s a larger travesty that is uncovered in this disgrace. The American standard of violence being more acceptable than any sexuality. It’s very apparent when you look at overseas advertising. As we know, sex sells, but on this side of the Atlantic, it is action that sells. It’s intensity, vigor, and violence. We are more prone to watching shoot ’em up, explosions, and car chases than we are to see an intimate scene between two people. That is where the fault lies.

    Even if this statue was intended to be ‘pornographic’, that subtlety would’ve been undiscovered by those we would be attempting to shield with it’s removal. It’s obvious overtones were that of celebration, purity, and joy. Not anything sexual. There was no obvious nudity and, that shouldn’t be a problem. The obvious problem here is those that complain should take a Rorschach test. See if then they see the same thing. Everything with symmetry could be considered pornographic then.

    It’s obvious the artist went to great lengths to prevent the very interpretation/reputation it has received, while still retaining the elements of purity, beauty, and love of humanity. The colors, bright and vibrant, the figures at each side, tastefully posed, and all of the elements combining for one singular message of the spirit of the Earth.

    Georgia O’Keefe had the same ridicule for painting flowers. That was 40 years ago. Many artists have built careers out of this same controversy and my hope is this will be another one.

    You may take our Art, but you’ll never take our FREEDOM!!!


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