May 24, 2001

Subject: the Raquel Salinas poster vs. la Tilma
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 00:13:37 -0000
From: "Pedro Romero Sedeno" <>

Dear Roberta, 

I'm in Santa Fe, and I object to your assessment of  the Santa Fe  opposition as  "small town culture" mentality.  I am an artist working here in Santa for 13 years and have an MFA from CU-Boulder, where my thesis was on postmodern cultural intervention.  Indeed, I have been performing a cultural intervention at the MOIFA and CyberArte show which is presently being censored by the Museum and the media which I would like to tell you more about sometime.  It's title is the Santa Fe Ofrenda Project. I am not a folk artist, and unlike Alma, have no ambition to exhibit in the Folk Art Museum.  In 2000, I sold a ceramic sculpture, oriented to the issue of nuclear militarism, called False Idol #1 to the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts for $6k for its permanent collection.  In 1990, I publicly challenged this same museum for its pitifully dismal record of showing Chicano art.          

Please refer to one of several postings of my critical analysis of Alma's work.  Please know that I find "the Lady of Holy Carne", as I like to refer to it, as not "avant-garde" at all.  It's rather shallow and cliche to me.  Infatuation with this work is what I consider "small town"; this work looks more like a movie poster than "art" . You are right, pseudo-Guadalupe Hollywood costumes do not a strong woman communicate.  And yes, it would behoove you to ponder more about the implications of Romano's posting of artists vs. poor people "aspects of this issue."     I am intrigued by your reference to yourself as a museum person, and hope we could have some real discussion intellectually of this controversy.      Peace,  Pedro Romero Sedeno*,   MFA   * w/ enye


Subject: Re: [AztlanNet: ARTS|LETTERS] alma divisiv-issue
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 00:34:58 -0000
From: "Pedro Romero Sedeno" <>

Chicl, please fwd to Erlinda Gonzalez-Berry:  

as per the "liberation" inspired by Alma's Lady, come on, it looks like a pseudo-Guadalupe costume for the Academy Awards.  a Chicana Victoria Secret's ad.  Please know that here in New Mexico, Mejicanos y Mejicanas feel Alma's poster is "haciendo burla", a ridicule of their cultural identity.  Guadalupe unites and empowers, Alma' idol is empty and powerless.


Subject: regarding "Our Lady" controversy...
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 08:18:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Solis Raquel <>
CC: "Prof. JF Herrera" <>

to: Alma Lopez

First of all, I would like to let you know that you have many supporters out here in Fresno. Personally, I consider "Our Lady" a valuable, empowering piece. Chicanas have to endure a lot of criticism. For some reason womanism is seen as controversy. Instead it should be seen as a positive way to empower women of color. I am glad your artwork was not removed from the exhibition, as I believe it deserves as much to be in exhibition as the other artworks there.

By the way, I have seen discussions on compuserve about "Our Lady." Most of the outraged people admit that they have not even seen the piece, yet they say it is inmoral, unethical, so on... I believe that more Chicana/os should support Chicana art. I don't know if many of those against are Chicanos, like Villegas, but I sure hope more Chicanos defend cultural expression.

Sincerely, Raquel Solis


Subject: Joyce Ice, INFA,'Recommendation'
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 12:40:46 EDT

Joyce Ice,                                                            

'Letter to the Editor'

May 24, 2001

'Committee on Sensitive Materials.' Their recommendation definitely were not sensitive to the situation at hand, this was a, 'Partner in Crime,'' decision. It is only going to escalate the matter of the 'lady' to a boiling point.

You, Thomas and Arnold knew displaying, the 'cyber Arte ,' would cause much friction in the community since the begining of it's introduction in February, knowing the Santa Fe Catholic community is a community of Faith you went on ahead and now have caused serious damage. You have caused division between many Hispanics and Anglos; a mockery quite visible. The people against the Catholic Church attacking not so much because of, 'Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression', but rather hatred; a few godless and faithless people it is quite noticeable in many editorials. Alma lopez thinks some people favor her digital art of the lady not realizing they are using it a tool to create division among many Hispanics and a definite blast against the Church.

Alma Lopez's particular work of the lady should have been discussed with Church leaders. Now you have made a fatal mistake. It is obvious that some of you live in a cocoon and unaware of what's going on in the community.

This will be a sad day in history because of lack of respect for other people's faith and traditions.

All I can say now, I wish you Thomas and Arnold would pack up your bags and leave this community as well as some of the members of the C.S.M.

In my behalf,
Julian Sanchez

cc: Joyce ice
     Alma Lopez


Subject: Our Lady of Guadalupe
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 13:54:51 EDT


I am sorry, but your depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe is just not respectful of Our Lady. And the bare breasted woman at the bottom is very distasteful. Our Lady herself said she was a humble handmaiden of the Lord.

She would never appear in such fashion.


Subject: "Our Lady"
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 11:29:40 -0700
From: "C. Excxnxs" <>


I believe that freedom of speech and expression comes before anything. Women like yourself create such a powerful and positive image that women like myself who aspire in becoming chicana artist as well, can follow and learn from.
I do not find your work as being sacrilegious in anyway, on the contrary, I see your work as sending out a powerful message, that which empowers the women as viewing themselves in a different perspective, in a new light.

Many women are viewed by others and by themselves the way we were taught to view the image of the Virgin Mary. That we must be respectful, quiet, obedient, servants of men; it's time that we stop...we must see ourselves like you mentioned in one of your statements, as being strong and beautiful, that our beautiful bodies should be viewed as gifts from our creator.
There should be no shame in displaying our bodies in a tasteful manner, whether it be artistically or not. I wish you luck with your work and I hope that people who disapprove of your work will wake up a realize you speak the truth through artistic expression...they need to widen their horizens and open their mind.
Claudia Encinas

Graphic Design/Chicano Latino Studies Student,
California State University, Fresno


Subject: Viva La Virgin!!!
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:34:14 -0400
From: Ida <>

I think your depiction of Our Lady is beautiful, tasteful and contemporary, fit for the enlightened view of women that now prevails throughout the western world. She is truly a Blessed Virgin for the 21st Century. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by blue-nosed viejos and priests who never accepted Vatican II, nor any of those old church ladies of our mother's generation who have been so brainwashed by the Church that they are incapable of perceiving Our Lady as anything but an icon.

True Catholics are not supposed to worshop Our Lady. She was/is the Mother of God, not a god herself. But she is held in the highest regard by Mother Church, the only woman not considered a "vessel of sin", cursed from birth to be impure and unfit for anything but housekeeping and childbearing. One wonders how many of those pedophilic priests who've been in the headlines for abusing their young charges have ever lain with a woman before taking their vows; how many of them truly love their own mothers, let alone Jesus' mother, and how do they relate to their female parishioners--as people or as "unclean vessels"?

Viva la Virgen!! Y la artista! As a Born Again Catholic (who hopes to see female priests in my lifetime) and a proud Latina, I urge you not to lose hope. We are with you, Hermana!



Subject: File this under "support for the artist"
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 15:40:12 -0300
From: Alain Chabot <>
To: <>


just in case anybody wants credentials: I am a 50 year old heterosexual white male raised as a catholic, but a long term atheist.

I happen to think that artists have the right to express themselves. Period.

Not quite. As they see fit. Now add the period.

Prudes can always look the other way. Where is the guarantee that nothing _I_ object to will be produced? It's not as if I didn't have to put up with all the idiots thanking god for preferring their team over the other team :)

And by the way it is a beautiful image. Nude bodies are inherently beautiful. Even when obviously in erotic poses (not the case here).

Anyway, I am rambling (as usual my wife would say!)



Subject: cHICANo aRT 101.... "oUR lADY"
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 11:42:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Soul Garcia <>




Subject: que suerte!
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 12:57:45 -0600
From: Jerry Medrano <>
To: "''" <>


I just read an article on on your work. Congratulations on gracefully weathering the controversy and other "bad vibes" re: your piece, Our Lady. I think you're making bold and NECESSARY statements on how society at large perceives Latinas, Catholicism in context to Chicanos/as, and most importantly, Latinas can re examine themselves (through technology, especially) and liberate themselves from the stereo/typical roles imposed upon them by stringent sociocultural mores that affect both Latino and Angloamerican cultures...

I wish you continued success. If ever you're in the area, please pop in and say hello. iSiguele fuerte!

Jerry Medrano
Assistant Curator, El Paso Museum of Art

PS I met you a couple of years ago @ the INBA Museum in Juarez, when you won their Siqueiros-Pollock art competition. Keep up the good work!


Subject: Re: *Our vains/veins have been slashed*
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 13:26:30 -0600
From: "Barrio Warrior" <>


yeah, your right...................I shouldn't be so graphic, but to be honest with you, I have seen the vains of our youth slashed in real life.................and this whole Alma Lopez collage ordeal feels like a deep cut on my veins/vains.......the comparison of pain is not a joke for me and/or for my gente y is just the way it is..........but for me, the most focus that I want to pursue is to find a way to bring peace into my varrio..........there is alot of gente y raza who don't know the consequences and ramifications of what is happening in my varrio over this collage.

Yeah, we do have some *experts* gente y raza "who think" they have a good grasp to this issue and claim to champion the issue, but they are mistaken. Some even think this issue will eventually go away, become history and just be another chapter to a story. I don't think so because of the adverse and negative impact that it has done to our gente y raza in Northern New Mexico. I guess the scars of pain and hurt over this cultural/religion issue will not easily go-away.......................bueno, take care and the flame is still on................Jose


Subject: Folk Art
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 15:43:38 -0400
From: "Louise Pfau" <>

How sad someone like you to have "God" given talent and defile as you have "Our Lady of Guadalupe". Why would you or anyone else defile a religious figure. You certainly did not intend to complement or pay homage to our Lady. Why not use yourself or one of your "significant other" counterparts. You could have titled your "art" as "Alma of Guadalupe!"

L. A. Pfau


Subject: our lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 12:52:11 -0700
From: "Bernard Garcia" <>

Hello I was at your web site and saw your art work, I beleive that you have the right to express one self. It was very moving and very wow. I really enjoyed your use of digitally enhancing your body onto the art work, I did not care for the nude photo at the bottom of the page and did not see the symbolyism in it. Other than that I thought it was a beautiful piece of art

Thank you Bernard


Subject: Joyce Ice/ Tom Wilson/Alma Lopez
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 15:16:42 -0500
From: "Bordac, Bill (MBLA cs)" <>
To: "''" <>,"''" <>,"''" <>
CC: "''" <>

Dear Ms. Ice:

I am glad to hear that the museum's committee has rightfully decided not to remove Alma Lopez' "Our Lady" from display over the recent hubbub. However, I find your decision to close the entire exhibit early "in the spirit of reconciliation" to be spineless and counterproductive to efforts to maintain freedom of speech. Shame on you. Kowtowing "in the spirit of reconciliation" is analogous to saying, "you know, you have a valid point after all!" Archbishop Sheehan most certainly does not have a valid point. Just as he is wrong to imply that any and every women in a bikini is a prostitute, he is also wrong to imply that art, even if it were sacrilegious, should not and cannot be displayed in public. He has no more right to demand you remove that painting than I do to demand you remove your bikini. It is greatly disappointing to supporters of freedom of speech that you caved.

And while I'm on the subject of weak stances, Mr. Tom Wilson was quoted thusly: "The committee's recommendation will stand unless it's appealed." What positive reinforcement! Your committee sure sounds tough! I wouldn't want to mess with them!

I will let the two of you share my "Chicken of the Week" award.

Bill Bordac


Subject: RE: Sensitivity & Courage
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 15:17:40 -0600
From: "May, Laura" <>
To: "'Bordac, Bill (MBLA cs)'" <>, "Wilson, Tom" <>, "Ice, Joyce" <>
CC: "''" <>,"Nunn, Tey" <>

Dear Mr. Bordac:

Thank you for sending your comments to the Museum of International Folk Art.

The digital collage Our Lady by Alma Lopez will remain in the Cyber Arte: Tradition Meets Technology exhibition.

The Museum of New Mexico Sensitive Materials Committee was implemented before the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) to provide a process for the return of culturally sensitive material to tribal governments and individuals. The fact that an appeal process exists should not be construed as a lack of commitment or "spine" on the part of the Committee. This committee began the process of reviewing and returning objects well before NAGPRA passed; providing a working model for how to fairly implement the procedures for the return of historical and archaeological material. The appeal process provides a vehicle for multiple groups or individuals claiming cultural patrimony to present additional information for the committee to consider. The findings of the committee in this instance are available on the Museum of New Mexico website < >

I hope this has illuminated part of the issue that may have been absent from the article you read. Compromise has been described as a process resulting in the equal dissatisfaction of both parties. Personally, I think it takes a good deal of courage to make the first gestures for compromise. Therefore, I hope you won't mind if I join Mr. Wilson and Dr. Ice in sharing your "Chicken of The Week" award.

Thank you again for your comments.
Laura M. May
Special Events Coordinator
Museum of International Folk Art


Subject: our lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 15:19:29 -0500
From: Norma Gonzalez <>

The Virgin has no owner. No religion exists that can claim exclusive ownership over her as a symbol. Her image has been seen everywhere on tattoos, posters, cups, t-shirts, cars and many other places. She has become an image of popular culture just like Che Guevara, Subcomandante Marcos, Emiliano Zapata and Frida Kahlo this in turn makes this image open to be interpreted in many different ways. Artists have taken advantage of that and have demonstrated that in their work. I think you have done a great job in depicting the Virgin.


Subject: in support!
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 16:42:42 -0400
From: "Marten, Jessica" <>
To: "''" <>

It is shocking that in this day that the female body continues to be demonized. I think your courage should be applauded. PLEASE continue to assert your right to portray women through a woman's vision!


Subject: our lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:03:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Xica Dificil <>

Dear Alma Lopez,

I am writting to tell you that I think your work is great. I think you should be able to do whatever you please and no one should say what you can or cannot display in a mesuem. You have my support.

Silvia I. Gonzalez


Subject: Our Lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 17:06:10 EDT

I support what you are doing and find that this particular art piece is not offensive at all.  I find great stregnth in what you are doing.  I am a Chicana who is glad that the Virgen of Guadalupe is being seen in a new light.  I have finished an art piece that also has the Virgen in different view.  I would have attached a picture but I do not own a scanner.  My picture is of the Virgen in  a zoot suit considering that women of today wear suits proudly,   I am emailing you to tell you that your work has not gone unappreciated.                                                            

Nicole Cruz


Subject: I like it!
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:17:29 -0700
From: "Ernesto A Carrion Jr." <>

Dear Alma Lopez,

If I understand this correctly the whole world is in an up roar because you depicted yourself as the virgin Mary that was somewhat nude with a nude woman with big breasts poping out. I LIKED IT! I thougth it was well done, I thought it was a change from the old, and I don't see what all the porblem is. True, the virgin Mary is a figure that should be respected and loved but I am sure she can defend herself when she needs too.

I would never buy your work for one it might be too expensive and two it would not go with my house and three I am not big into paintings but I would support your right to keep it, I would support your right by buying one and giving it back to you because I don't need it. But I guess the biggest support I can give you is that I don't see anything worng with the painting. So keep painting, show a little of your own skin rather than the half naked lady on the bottom, that would have been more artistic.

Side note: if you want to be more contraversial have the same painting and rap your self with an American or a Mexican flag. (if you did an American flag it would be covered under freedom of speech and could not be taken down.)

Carrion Jr.


Subject: Our Lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:18:08 -0700 (PDT)
From: Albert Gonzalez <>

Dear Alma,

Hello, how are you doing. I don't think that you know me, but I got on to your web-site. Hey I think that you have guts to do on what you did to the Virgin Mary. If you feel that you needed to express your self in that way. I respect you, not only are you fighting for what you believe in, but you are also fighting the Church. You do have a point, about the nude male angels. I always thought that in heaven there was neither a male or female angel. But I guess everyone has their own view on religion. My only advice for me to you is to keep on doing on what you love the most and don't let no one chatter your dreams. Keep them alive by doing art! Well thats all I gotta say. I would appreciated if I got an e-mail back!

from Alberto Gonzalez
(CSU Fresno)


Subject: Your Picture
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:32:54 -0700
From: Laura Ramos <>

Hi Alma, as an assignment to my class I had to look at your picture and tell you what I think.

Personally, I don't like it, but don't get me wrong I like what you are doing but I am very religious and think that a womens body is precious especially the virgen Mary. I the picture I like several things, what I dislike the most is the girl you have at the bottom. I like what you did with the azted calendar and the tufness you can see on your face.

The flowers around you remind me of Adam and Eve.



Subject: "Our Lady" controversy
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 21:43:07 -0000
From: "Jacob Moraga" <>

Dear Alma,

I feel the controversy surrounding your piece of artwork is uncalled for in America, the land of freedom of expression. As a student in California, I feel the photo does justice for the modern women. I can also see how religious groups can be upset also. They must not have a taste for art ant the meaning behind artwork. I am an artist myself and I feel the work is excellent. It is a form of expression that no one can fully relate to but the artist him or herself. I applaud your persistent backing of your artwork. No one should be able to dictate what kind of work you should create. The Catholic church needs to realize that your work is not sacreligious but a testament of your adoration for the Virgen de Guadalupe.

I just hope that people in the world today realize that art is a form of expression. People do have a right to their opinion but as long as it does not create bigotry or threats towards the original artist.

I am glad that your piece of work has gotten so much acclaim. The popularity has been the topic of lectures in some of my Social Studies classes. I bet you never thought the peice would have gotten this much attention.

Good Luck and keep on creating art that has a mind of its own because I sure will too.

Jacob Moraga (CSU Fresno)


Subject: Re: Museum of New Mexico Decides on Cyber Arte Show
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 18:47:14 EDT
To:,,,,tmnunn@moifa.orgThanks to

CultureNet and to all of those who have supported Moifa. This whole thing has been so crazy. On the one hand it is great, more people probably went to see our show, but on the other hand, it also sucks that it is coming down early, i can understand how hard it was to make that decision, but i am disapointed.

I hope that everyone who has shown their support, will continue to do so, and be vocal and active. Gee, how i have learned to shed my own land of manana mentality. This will effect the state and its artists.

Just in the last week i have heard from artists (in different instances) who have said that Albuq. museums will not show work that may seem controversial and the Hispanic Cultural Center board would like to review the work before the shows are hung. If curators can't do their jobs or are not trusted, what is the point? I am sure if Villegas curated a show based on his ideas and activism, i may be ofended, but I would choose not to attend.

The opening day of the show, was filled with excitement.

It was the first time i had met the other artists. We immediatly hit it off. As Marion said in a recent email "to let you all know how honored I feel to be associated with three strong,, insightful, gifted, women ('Comadres' - kinship of spirit ), whom I feel share in a vision of spirit, culture, "fe" and its transformation. " The Curator, Dr. Tey Marianna Nunn, did more than "curate" in the traditional sense. She worked her magic. (Oh,great the media will probably latch on to that...and think she is a voodoo princess) There are a lot of Latina "Cyber chicas" out there, but she brought the four of us together. We have all been emotionally bruised, but she has taken the brunt of it. She has been threatened, questioned, and to defend her credentials, ethnicity, her vision, her soul. Through it all her fight hasn't been just for Alma, or the other artists in the show. It has been for all Latina, hispanic, chicana, nuevo mexicana, women and their voice and their future. It is so sad that in 2001, so many are threatend by this.

Ok, my quick thank you has turned in to a rant...i know.. surprising to those of you who know me... thanks again, CyberArte supporters! --

Elena Baca


Subject: Re: Don't burn my home.

Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 17:09:56 -0700
From: "Rocio Carlos-Gonzales" <>


I am so sorry about all of this. When this whole thing was starting, I started writing a poem. It's not finished yet, but It was inspired by (among other things) your amazing work. We all need you.

Please read it (although, it is a bit long).



I am tired of dying Aztec princesses,
body like a mud flap pin-up, outlining a mountainside,
heaving accented breasts cradling
a sleeping doe.
I am tired of dying of
grief waiting for my prince Popo
to come find me,
of turning into quiet snow,
a sleeping beauty,
breathtaking because my eyes
and mouth are closed.
I want to glow with fire and
spit heat every
once in a while, to remind
you, that I am still here
I am still searching, torch in my hand
but nor for love
not for someone who fell asleep in sorrow,
while I was at war
and I have been at war.
I have been dodging arrows
from my brothers,
dodging bullets from the others
I am not safe.
I send los mios like hidden cargo,
I drown in rivers to reach el otro lado
I am part of a long line of women who
bite their lip against the blows of a badge,
Hiding my children in the folds of my dress,
Against paper cuts from voting ballots and other
things that might not endanger you.
I am not safe.
In my own land
I can be stolen, made someone else‘s.
Someone is my dueño, someone makes me suya.
I have to ignore the hisses and when I walk,
have to teach my daughters to ignore it too,
until we are too old to be mamacitas
and are simply viejas.
Los hijos de la chingada
forget that I am la chingada, I am their kin,
and I am forcible entered, like
an alien world,
like a place across the sea.
They forget.
Unless, of course, I am
a mural, a tattoo, an amulet.
If I were you…
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Dios te salve, Maria,
Why is it that I must be you
in order to keep your sons from hurting me,
Eyes downcast and hands together?
Why does my belly have to swell
Even as my knees touch,
As if I’ve been hiding feathers,
As if I have swallowed jade,
So that my own daughters scorn me
As I do you, even as you are my greatest love?
I want to be a running virgen,
Laces untied, hand in a fist,
Mouth widening in a carcajada,
The most soulful kind of laughter.
I want to be the virgen dressed in
roses, showing skin,
hands on my hips, legs
apart, steady gaze  saying,
whuut, ‘ey?
 Someone put that on a wall,
On a gold chain
On their backs in ink
On the hood of their car,
Because I am tired of airbrushed low riders,
Of  firme jainas leaning over a pool table
Pulled down by the weight of her
(again) heaving accented breasts
Feathered bangs tumbling over her shoulders,
Disappearing in the glint of the sun, blinding me
from seeing any reflection.
It makes me feel like I have lost my glasses,
and I have to squint to see anything,
It makes my head hurt,
But it does not make me sad
It makes my heart tired of being angry.
When I look at the chrome,
Just for once,
I want to see myself.


Subject: our lady
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 21:01:50 EDT

I am an artist and was raised Catholic, went to schools plastered with traditionally accepted images of the Virgin. I first viewed your work in an Internet discussion forum. When I read some of the responses to it I could not believe the ignorance. I think your work personifies feminine strength and beauty and I welcome an image of the Virgin relevant to modern times rather than the thousand-year-old, solemn images I was taught to revere...and

I will defend it to loud-mouthed Bible-thumpers so eager to be offended by something that they completely overlook any artistic merit.


Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 20:33:59 -0600
From: "Robert" <>
To: <>

How can a 2 piece swim suit show the Virgin Mary as a "Strong, independent Woman?" I don't see any connection whatsoever. Your talent surely could have been seen another way, I believe in your fight for whatever, but not in this way. Now so many people have heard of Alma Lopez, thru our most sacred Mother.
Sylvia Schomburg


Subject: Comments from another artist
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 23:53:38 -0500
From: "Jeffrey Zumwalt" <>
To: <>

Dear Alma,
I ran across your "Our Lady" piece and was fascinated by the firestorm that it has created.  I have worked as a professional artist (who is incidentally a Christian)  for 25 years.  Of course I also studied art history so I claim some validity to what I say. 
1) Criticism is a cheap gift and those who criticize most probably aren't going to be your clients anyway. 

2) It is a shame to judge an artist for any reason on the basis of one piece of art.

3) There have always been critics...and there will always be critics...many of whom will find there judgments to be very embarrassing in the light of history.

4) Those who criticize artists often find themselves forever portrayed throughout history in compromising positions....that is not a suggestion, just an observation.
My prayer for you my friend is that you will not let others re-focus your attention away from what the Lord has placed upon your heart. Christianity today has a very poor record for supporting the artists of this generation.  But God has not stopped creating, in fact that was the very first thing that He told us about Himself, that He created!  So if His Spirit dwells in like your Father and create. 
What I'm saying here may seem strange, but as an artist, I know the sensitivities of the artistic personality and how easily it can be wounded (sometimes even fatally) by unkind words from ones who just don't or won't understand.  Your artistic talent is a gift from God, don't let man steal the joy of such a great gift from you.
I would love to see other pieces of your work. 
Blessings, Jeff