I was reading in the paper today a story out of Winona where a theatre group uses Masonic backdrops in their plays. The “Drops and Drama” festival run by the Theatre du Mississippi performs at the Masonic Temple Theatre in Winona using backdrops with Masonic themes. (If you look at the picture on the website, you may recognize some symbolism.) One of my favorite lines of the article is “We can’t use a lot of the backdrops because they have Masonic themes; [w]e don’t know what all of them mean.”
Many readers may find the idea of using the Masonic backdrops as a problem or an affront against the sacredness of our themes but I believe that the use of these pictures is a great use of recycling. People watching the play may not know what the painting means or what they represent, but I agree with reusing those items for non-Masonic purposes. I read an article a few years ago, where a woman bought an old Masonic Temple and converted the building into a fabric production studio. While it is sad that a Lodge Building was abandoned and the Lodge was disbanded, the Lodge Building still survives. There are many examples in my state where a Masonic building has been changed has been converted into a new purpose. One of the best examples is the Hennepin Center for the Arts which is housed in what was the downtown Masonic Center. (A good historical description can be found.)
We, as Masons, are builders; we build structures, communities, charities and so forth. Sometimes we lose our stately structures but if the building can remain standing without being torn down, our memory may remain in the collective mind of the community.