Gaea Returned Home <3

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Well, if you have not heard yet; Gaea was returned back to her home in front of Brigid’s Cross in downtown Bemidji on July 6th, 2010 that night. I have been so busy after I returned from Florida and this is the first moment I have had to even post an update. I apologize. I will post some photos and I was given permission to post these photos. However, I asked a while ago and I cannot remember specific names for each photo. They have been made possible by Deborah Davis, Cate Belleveau, and Christina Thorne. I am sure there are a couple more such as from Linda Brown. Thank you all.

I unfortunately was unable to attend the city council meeting but the outcome of supporters that attended was around 80 people in support of returning Gaea. The update I received was that they discussed as to why it was deemed inappropriate to be displayed by one city council member and then another city council member argued that the complaints she had heard; is not what she saw when viewing Gaea!  That week was one of the most intense and most rewarding feelings ever I have felt in my life. We had designated people to speak and discuss why we were against the decision of John Chattin and why we felt Gaea should be returned! It was put in motion and seconded that Gaea be returned. What a happy day for Deborah Davis and ALL artists who walked with her in support and fought in protest against the unfair removal of Gaea.

After all the mayhem started we started shrouding our sculptures to protest the removal of Gaea. We were all quite upset. It made papers and numerous news stations. On July 4th, we had someone stand up in Gaea’s spot painted with Georgia O’keefe art on his body. It drew a lot of attention and most definitely helped get our point across.

I am just so happy and pleased that Gaea has been returned home. I have had people come up to me and ask if I was indeed the one who started blogging about it and have had several people thank me for fighting along with it. I have no decided what my next tattoo is going to be and where it is going to go. I will share later. After all of this mess and even after our happy ending—I still feel strongly about art censorship and I am really considering becoming an activist in regards to this. I love all of my fellow artists and our artist community. We are so blessed to have such a great community in Bemidji. I just want to give a big thanks to Al and Cate Belleveau for all the hard work they have done in keeping the arts alive and organizing the sculpture walk along with many other artistic things made possible because two people care and understand the importance of Art.

Thank you to all who fought and supported Deborah Davis and Gaea through out this protest and fight! It is greatly appreciated by all!



Shanna Mae


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:

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.

Gaea and the Star Tribune

There is a featured article in the Star Tribune. The following web address will link you to the article. I will be posting later regarding an email I have received and my thoughts on some of the information provided in both. I am so upset about this whole event! My thoughts, prayers and support go to Deborah Davis, the artist.
Artists band together, we stand here united, ready to fight for our rights. Band the John Chattins decision. If I weren’t on the road, I’d be saying a lot more!!

Love, peace and friendship.

Shanna Mae

Ps. Just was informed that some one removed the cloak from my sculpture! How disrespectful!