Friday, December 10, 2010

"The Result of It was Hurt.." Returning the Archbishop's DVDs

The offical press was kept outside the Chancery door but word can still get out now that "we are the press" thanks to the web. Francesca made this great little home movie of the return of thousands of DVDs by and myself. Approx. 4,000 DVDs were returned to the Chancery today... while the archbishop wouldn't meet with us, we were able to have an interesting exchange with his representatives.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wailing Wall Quilt will rise again!

The Wailing Wall Quilt will go on display this weekend at All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church.

The Wailing Wall Quilt will remain on display there into January 2011.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Truth to Tell

Religions of the World over Lucinda Naylor's "Wave"
Photo from KFAI website.

Truth to Tell is the name of a radio show hosted by Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen on KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Online

Today I joined Fr. Michael Tegeder and Rev. Leeanne Watkins Monday morning to be part of a conversation "about the role religion plays in uniting or dividing us, with an emphasis on... Catholic and Episcopalian faiths’ responses to the reality of same-sex relationships...(and) the roles churches... play in mixing their spiritual missions with... secular politics."

The Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis was invited to participate but "(Dennis McGrath) stated that they do not participate in such discussions, unless there's a theological conference or something of similar gravity involved". Not unexpected but disappointing.

Click here to go to a linked article: audio file available for download at the bottom of that page.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fear not...

A constant refrain in the Bible, from Isaiah to Luke, is "Be not afraid".

The latest kerfuffle springing from the archbishop’s DVD is the censoring of editorials in the Benilde-St. Margaret's High School newspaper the Knight Errant. I was interviewed by a student reporter for a story titled “Church releases DVD that makes waves”. Published alongside this article were two editorials: “Staff finds DVD unsubstantiated” and “Life as a gay teenager” (also reprinted as “For gay teens who have considered suicide”).

The censoring of these very worthy editorials was done by the school, as MPR reports: “Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis said, 'We were not involved in this process, but we are supportive of the decision by school authorities.'"

Funny, those were almost his exact words about my suspension from the Basilica. We didn’t do it, but we support those who did.

As a friend who works for the Church said to me, “when you create a climate of fear, you don’t have to do your own dirty work”.

The Knight Errant student editors did an excellent job of scrutinizing the claims on the DVD. For example, in dealing with one of the most offensive falsehoods, the editors wrote:

The DVD also aimed to reject the notion that the issue of gay marriage is an issue of civil rights. They did this in the most subtle way imaginable: by having a black man quote Martin Luther King Jr. The quote in question was from “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and stated that for a law to be just it must be in line with natural law.

What the speaker fails to address is the very next line of the letter that states, “Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul.” Clearly this omitted line proves that MLK would not have supported discriminatory policies against any group, including homosexuals. The fact that the Church would go as far as to evoke MLK in an issue, which he clearly wouldn’t have supported, speaks volumes to the argument which the DVD presents.

Coretta Scott King--who should know best-- has been quoted as saying MLK would support gay rights. She stated: "Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriage." I think it is safe to say these students’ claims are on very firm ground.

But dissent, even when speaking the truth, is no longer tolerated in today’s Catholic Church. The student reporter told me that while students wanted to talk about the DVDs, the school staff was very afraid and wouldn't speak openly. They rightly feared for their jobs if they dissented.

Since I was suspended, multiple people have contacted me to say they (too) lost jobs with the Church through direct interference or indirect fear of the archbishop. For a variety of reasons, these people have mostly chosen to go quietly--but with very heavy hearts.

The DVD to ART opening took place in a space surrounded by large plate glass windows. A number of people who worked for the Church risked attending. A friend, who knew some of these folks, was startled by how paranoid they were. Some of them asked him to patrol the street to make sure no one was photographing them entering or leaving the exhibit. They were afraid of being spotted and reported. But they are the brave ones... I give them credit for showing up, because their fears are legitimate.

No Church employees are present in this photograph.

At the start of the project, when I was collecting DVDs outside the Basilica, a woman I’d never met before came to drop off her DVD. Since there was press around, she shielded her face with her hands and the DVD, so she wouldn’t accidently get caught in a photo. “My husband works for the Church,” she sheepishly explained.

The Church of not that many years ago was talked about as a big umbrella, where family--who didn’t always agree--sheltered together. Now instead of hearing “all are welcome”, we instead hear talk of “a smaller and purer Church”. Our own archbishop responds to letters by suggesting dissenters might be happier in other faith traditions--as well as questioning their salvation.

Over and over lately, I find myself saying, “you know something’s wrong when the Church is ruling with fear instead of guiding with love”.

I applaud the student newspaper staff at the Knight Errant who dared to speak out. When I was their age I was proud to be Catholic because I knew my Church let me think for myself and ask big questions. I didn’t see the point of having a faith that was so limiting that it couldn’t withstand dissent. A God constrained by that kind of faith felt too small for me then, and still does.

I hope we can return to days when we were proud to say "catholic means universal"--and felt it held true not just for the "little c" catholic of the creed but for the "big C" Catholic of the Roman Catholic Church. Over-quoted, but true: "we are the Church" and "we need to be the change we want to see".

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine."

Isaiah 43:2

(Words in blue-gray are live links.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Everything about the DVD to ART project has happened fast. 24 hours after I go on Facebook, I get news coverage. 48 hours after I make that first post, I get suspended from the Basilica. Now I get a day's notice to vacate my make-shift gallery.

I should have taken it as "a clue" when my sculpture got knocked over last week. I did call to see if staying was going to be OK. I didn't hear back until this morning when I got the word that I needed to vacate ASAP. They were lovely to let me have the space as long as I did.

The Wailing Wall Quilt is already off the wall and folded up. I've started tearing down The Wave.

I'm hoping to recreate The Wave into small sculptures. I've already promised some to benefit glbtq Online High School.

It's been a wide ride! At least with all these waves, I'm not seasick!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Update CNN: Link to video and text story.

The CNN report I wrote about below is the featured post on CNN Politics this afternoon. Sounds like this link may not stay live forever, but for now you can watch the video and read an expanded written story by clicking here.

My Inspiration Interviewed on CNN

The CNN report DVD crosses the line for some Catholics starts off with the interview of a fellow parishioner named Jan. I know Jan from years of sitting in the pews with her on Sunday mornings and serving on the same eucharistic minister team.

I knew that last spring she wrote a heartfelt letter to the archbishop telling him about her lesbian daughter and asking him to open his heart to GLBT people. She told me about the letter she received in return that suggested she should refrain from taking communion and that her salvation could be in jeopardy, unless she changed to the archbishop's way of thinking.

I also knew, from having seen other friends letters, that the archbishop's condemnation came wrapped in a form letter--he didn't even care enough to address her personally, she got the same letter everyone did who wrote opposing his views.

So, when I heard about the DVD, I thought of Jan... and many other people hurt by the Church.

In the Catholic Church, we always hear "we are the Church"--meaning: the people, all of us.
There are so many wonderful Catholics who are open and embracing of all people. They don't happen to be running the show right now, but that doesn't make them any less "the Church". I wanted to give voice to those Catholics, by asking them to collaborate with me on the DVD to ART project. Thank you to the thousands of people who have come forward to help spread the word that Catholics are also inclusive and loving people.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wailing Wall Quilt Notes

Today I took a bunch of photos of the notes tucked into the Wailing Wall Quilt, which is the "bonus art" on view with The Wave. All the photos posted here are of notes that the writers left loosely tucked, so they could be read by others. I believe I am honoring the writers' intentions by giving them a larger viewing here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Wave Evolves

Being an artist, I wasn't satisfied with last night's quick fix job on the toppled Wave.

I went back today and did a little surgery. Here it is in its latest incarnation:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Industrial Accident... Or Waves Are Ever-Changing...

This is how The Wave originally looked...
this is what it looks like after a little accident today:
My "gallery space" for this project is a vacant storefront. It's a lovely space--big, with lots of windows. Occasionally work goes on here when I'm not present. I know this because lights are left on and doors are left open, or construction materials stuck in offices off the main room are moved about. All three tell-tale signs of activity were there today... but the main evidence was laying the middle of the floor. Oops! The Wave fell over.

Admittedly, I made the damage worse by not waiting until I had at least three people to right it. With only two of us lifting, it twisted and split in the middle. Out came the hot glue gun and scissors! Now The Wave is a bit shorter and longer...

Well, real waves are never the same moment to moment. Waves of change are no different: always in flux. So the fact the a sculpture that symbolizes change in the Church should shift and move is really very appropriate.

The Wave is still available for viewing on Saturdays (1-5 p.m.) but don't be surprised if it flows into even yet another form...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wailing Wall Quilt

The "bonus art" on display with The Wave is called the Wailing Wall Quilt. Because so many people sending me their DVDs were including notes, I asked myself "how can I make a piece of art that let's people speak?"
Inspired by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where people tuck their prayers on pieces of paper amid the chinks of the wall, I came up with the idea of quilting together a "wall" of the DVD sleeves.

The open pockets of the sleeves created the perfect pocket for tucking thoughts and prayers.

Remembering my grandmother's quilting bees, I
invited 22 women and girls to join me one Sunday afternoon to join me in sewing the sleeves together, using their creativity to each create their own square.

I invite you to come by and add your own thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Wave

We had a fabulous Opening Night party last night. Many thanks to the volunteers, contributors and musicians who made it a wonderful event. We will be open Sunday (Halloween) and Tuesday (Election Day) from 1-5 p.m. After I stop racing around I will post hours for the rest of the month of November.

In the meantime, for those who can't come see the art in person, here is a picture of The Wave, as I am calling the DVD sculpture. The following is the "artist's statement" I posted next to the artwork:

The Wave

By Lucinda Naylor,

in collaboration with two thousand households.

Media: Repurposed DVDs.

These discs originally carried a divisive message sent in the name of the Catholic Church, seeking to block the civil rights of same-sex couples. I say sent in the name of the Church, but not the Church I know. The Church I know is inclusive, not exclusive.

For fifteen years, as artist-in-residence at the Basilica of Saint Mary, I used whatever materials I could scrounge from a budget-strapped liturgical department to create art for all the seasons of the church year. When I heard about these DVDs, I thought “Free art materials! I’ll turn them into art.”

I put out a call on Facebook, asking people to donate their DVDs to my project. I called it DVD to ART.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first DVD arrived in a bag of bagels. People slid DVDs through by mailbox, passed them to me in the pews, threw them into collection boxes outside several churches. They sent them to Return The DVD with notes saying “Turn me into art.” Church workers passed them along, laughingly, “under cover of night”. Over and over, I heard, “Thank you for changing this message into one of love.”

Some DVDs came broken, scratched, written on: “Return to sender, offensive material.” “Not in my name.” “You are not alone.” Repeatedly they quoted Jesus: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Thank you to everyone who passed along a DVD.

The Wave is about the Spirit of inclusion and love, which is sweeping though the Catholic Church as it continues to change, as usual from the people up to the hierarchy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Party Just Got Better!

DVD to ART project is pleased to announce that the following musicians will be contributing their art to the Opening Night experience:

John James and Ben Radecki

"Very Small Animal" with Tim Harlan-Marks and Patrick Noonan

Brian Laidlaw

Join the fun!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

DVD to ART: Opening Night!

What art project has almost 2,000 collaborators?
Yes, DVD to ART!
Come celebrate the transformation of DVDs into ART!
Opening Night: Friday, October 29th
5 p.m to 10 p.m.
2756 Hennepin Ave South
Minneapolis, 55408
If you can't make Opening Night,
stop by Saturday or Sunday afternoon
between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Week Until ART!

This DVD, like so many others, came with a sweet note.

I'll continue to accept DVDs through the weekend.
After then... all my DVDs will be turned into ART!
ReturnTheDVD will continue to collect DVDs into November.

Details about next Friday night's opening will be posted here soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

DVD to ART: Bare Bones

I'm already past this stage... or I'd be panicking by now...

Here are the bare bones of the DVD sculpture's structure.

You can see how they start to interconnect.

In the pictures, they look so pretty just like this...
it's almost a shame to take it to the next level.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Me, Robin Hood, and the Washington Post!!!

When I was three my TV heros were Roy Rogers and Robin Hood. I played Robin Hood all the while I was growing up--I had the hat, the bow & the (rubber tipped) arrows.

So imagine my delight upon reading the article "Of bully pulpits and bully bishops" in the Washington Post. Author Anthony Stevens-Arroyo makes the comparison between our Minnesota archdiocese and Sherwood Forest.

While no one's comparing me to Robin Hood, I'd happily sign on to be one of his "merry band".

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bumper Crop!

Spent the beautiful fall afternoon outdoors shucking today's harvest.

Separating the raw DVDs from their husks is the first step in this recipe for transformation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Prep Work...

Before I actually received my DVD, I was hoping it would have a lovely--or at least neutral graphic.

Unfortunately, to quote Fresca, when she saw the DVDs overlapping each other: "the fingers look like a bunch of worms". yecch!

I tried sandblasting. I tried scraping. I tried peeling. None of those made it any prettier.

So I've had to resort to painting. Here I am putting a thin coat of blue over the DVDs. You can still tell they are the archbishop's DVDs--the fingers show through--but they are toned down.

They don't look like blue worms. Whew!

There are about 800 DVDs surrounding me in this photo.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DVDs AS Art... It's beginning!

"Catholics get creative in response to archbishop's anti-gay-marriage message" is the headline of a front page story in today's Pioneer Press. (Click on title for link.) The subtitle is "Anti-gay marriage message has local Catholics buzzing"--and that really captures the focus of the story: people's reactions to the DVDs.

There are even a couple pix in the story of me working in my new medium. (Photo to left by Jean Pieri from Pioneer Press article).

On a different note---People keep telling me, "I haven't received my DVD yet". I know bulk mailing can be slow, but I'm hearing this from so many people, I'm beginning to wonder if the diocese stopped mailing the DVDs after seeing all the kerfuffle they've caused...

Those who have yet to receive your DVDs--never fear! You can continue to send them to me via or our collection boxes (see sidebar). I will continue to incorporate DVDs into my sculpture up until the last week of October, and ReturnTheDVD will continue to collect them even beyond that date. So, keep 'em coming--even if you get yours weeks from now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

DVD to ART: bandsaw-- a Video by Infinity Café

This little 34 second video shows me making the first cuts into the DVDs, on the way to transforming them into art.

Song: The Beatles' "I Will", sung by Alison Krauss

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Few Thoughts From DVD Donors

Some of the DVDs collected by DVD to ART and have come with heartfelt and thoughtful notes.  I'd like to share a few with you here:

One envelope was covered in notes of different handwriting in colored markers; each family member had written something on the envelope:

"Jesus taught tolerance".
"Please focus your energy on helping. Spread love and not hate. Embrace."
"They're not hurting anyone.  What is love?"
"My best friend is a gay Catholic. Doesn't the word "catholic" mean universal and inclusive?"
"There is so much to do now! Why are you spending so much time spreading hatred."
"Heschel: "The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference."

Other DVDs had small letters tucked inside them:
"Thank you for taking these DVDs.  My husband does not believe in gay marriage and I am undecided. However, we feel the Catholic Church has over stepped their boundaries in mailing the DVDs and even creating them. It is not the Church's place to force their "rules" on the flock, their purpose should be to guide us and lead us but let us make our own decisions."

"Thank you so very much for turning something so hateful into something beautiful. When we received our DVD, my partner and I watched it... mostly out of curiosity. When the video was finished we were stunned and very sad.  It's difficult to listen to a leader in our church say such terrible things when the church where I visit is so far from hateful. I am saddened for all my GLBT family that are self damning and not able to see beyond those words of hate and be part of the church--as is--and feel Christ's ever present love and acceptance."

"Thank you! I was so angry when I got these DVD's in the mail all I wanted to do was shred them.  Shame on the catholic church and the knights of columbus!! Please give my DVD's to the artist so that she can make something beautiful out of this ugly, ugly propaganda the catholic church feels it needed to spread with this DVD!!!!"

Lot of DVDs had one-liners:
"Thank you for giving me a positive way to express my anger!"
"What a sad waste of money * Turn me into Art!"

The envelope that caught at my heart arrived completely anonymous. Tucked into the case with the DVD were 4 small photos of a young boy--at different ages-- posing in his hockey gear.  I don't know the story that prompted these photos to be sent with this DVD, but I can guess... and offer my prayers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Good News Keeps Coming!

So far between DVD to ART and we have collected about 1600 DVDs!

This morning, after meeting with the owner of a fabulous, yet vacant, space-- I walked out with key in hand. Now the creative process can begin full tilt because I have a space to build and show the art in.

A number of the DVD jackets I've received are their own little works of art already. Here's one that contrasts the priority of homelessness with the message of the DVD.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday's DVD collection stories from various media

To listen to/read the MPR story click on: Artist gathers raw materials, raw emotions with Catholic DVD
(The audio story is different from the written story.)

Click on Catholic Marriage DVD a Work of Art for a story about Sundays DVD collection from Fox 9 news.

Click on Collecting Controversial Catholic DVD For Art for WCCO's take on the story
(warning this one comes with commercials).

Your wonderful response!

It's been wonderful to receive your DVDs and support.  Some of the DVDs or letters dropped in the collection boxes yesterday included messages meant for the archbishop... I'll be posting a few of those now and then, as above.  As of this morning DVD to ART has collected nearly 600 DVDs... and I know there are many more to come!  Keep spreading the word about DVD to ART and also that "return to sender" doesn't work on bulk mail (the post office trashes it).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What can $1,000,000 do?

It has been widely speculated that the archbishop's DVD cost $1, 000, 000 to make and send---yes, one million dollars!

When we were collecting DVDs at the Basilica this Sunday (tally to follow soon) a thirteen year old named Annika, approached us with handouts she had made titled "What can $1,000, 000 do".

The following is an exact quote of Annika's handout and what  her brilliant research uncovered:

It can feed 2,325,581 people with a cheese sandwich.
It could house 185 people for a year in a one bedroom apartment.
It could buy 800,000 bus passes.
It could heat the Basilica of St. Mary for 8 years.
It could change peoples lives.
But 1 anonymous donor decided to donate $1,000,000 to send 400,000 DVD's across Minnesota to deny the right of gay marriage.
What do you think this is right?

Now here's someone who truly understands the Christian message!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Great Press in the Star Tribune this morning!

Artist to collect DVDs outside five churches is the title of today's Star Tribune article that does a wonderful job of addressing the issues surrounding the DVD to ART project.  It also mentions all five churches where volunteers will be collecting DVDs Sunday morning.  (Click on the article title to be directed to the link.  Church addresses and mass times posted on this site.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter from a BOLD Priest

I've never met, but have long admired, Fr. Michael Tegeder, for his willingness to take a public stand. Below is a letter he sent to the Mpls. Star Tribune, which they chose not to publish.

To the editor,

Regarding the Minnesota Catholic bishops DVD campaign, they might listen to one higher in the pecking order. The Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schoenborn, main author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and  friend of the Pope, recently publicly stated that the Church needs to look differently at committed same sex relationships. Obviously, to raise such questions in the media let alone in an artwork is not to "lobby" against the teachings of the church as the Archbishop's spokesman awkwardly opined.

Rev. Michael Tegeder, pastor

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great Ltr. to the Editor in Star Tribune from a Supportive Basilica Parisioner

The paper only had one letter in response to yesterday's article about the DVD to ART project, and it sure does hit the bulls eye!
You can read (and comment on it) at

Thank you for the continued support!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My dog's a TV star... and, whew!, I held my own.

Click on this live link:

Here's what to do with your DVD!

The following have generously offered to be drop-off sites for the dvds:

Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ and
Minnehaha United Church of Christ (contact: James)

4001 38th Ave. S.
Minneapolis MN 55407

Th/F: 9a-1pm and evenings

Parkway United Church of Christ (contact: David)

3120 Washburn Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55411

(across the Parkway from North Memorial Hospital)
(612) 522-2982

OutFront Minnesota (contact: Monica)
310 38th St., Ste. 204
(Sabathani Community Center)
Minneapolis MN 55409
Office Hours: M-F/ 8a-7pm
Bldg Hours: M-F/ 7a-9pm (can leave at front desk), Sat. 8a-6pm.

St. Martin's Table
2001 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis.
Hours are Monday-Friday: 10:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m., and Saturday: 9:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m.
DVDs can be left  anytime at the counter.

Or send it by mail to:

P.O. Box 3028
Burnsville, MN 55337-3028

***ReturnTheDVD will make a donation to St Stephens Human Services on behalf of each DVD they receive.
Please note on your DVD that you would like it to directed to DVD to ART.

More drop off sits will be posted as soon as they are confirmed.

If you are interested in hosting a drop off site, or standing on the public sidewalk, with a DVD to ART collection box, near a Catholic church this coming Sunday, please contact