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About the military art project

■ About the project

• The Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Memorial Association commissioned artist Charles Gilbert Kapsner of Little Falls to create five oil paintings. The paintings depict a wide range of vignettes covering generations of servicemen and women.

• The 8-feet-by-10-feet paintings are to depict the history of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The completed Army painting is now hanging in the committal hall at the cemetery. His completed paintings will all hang in the hall.

• When it was announced, the project was expected to cost $495,000. The Veterans Art Project Fund is administered through the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation.

• The project is not being funded by public funds or tax dollars. Tax-deductible donations are being sought from individuals, corporations and civic organizations.

• Extensive research for each military branch goes into creating sketches using live models in real uniforms from the Continental Army to modern versions. Kapsner then uses a projector to transfer the images to a grid on the canvas.

• Kapsner considers each painting to be an allegorical piece, telling a story and using those symbolic figures to examine greater truths. Important moments in each military branch’s history are depicted on the canvas. Pine boughs mark the pivotal moment of World War II’s Battle of the Bulge. Kapsner is trying to capture the culture, history and ceremonies for each service branch.

• Each layer of thin paint serves a purpose as Kapsner uses an indirect oil painting approach to his canvas to create a sense of depth. Kapsner studied in Italy.

• The idea for the art project started with Gordon Gerling, former state representative from Little Falls. Gerling, an Air Force veteran, wanted to see a veterans memorial at the site. A conversation with Kapsner led to the art effort.

• The project may include a DVD in the future as a guide to help people appreciate the perhaps hidden storyline inside the painting to those who haven’t served or studied an individual branch.

To learn more

• For more information on the art project, go online to

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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