As the Air Force painting begins to take shape, the activity in the studio includes a session with Brigadier General Sandy Best, the first woman in the history of the Minnesota National Guard to be promoted to brigadier general. In her new role, Best serves as chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard and is responsible for command supervision, oversight, and leadership of the 133rd Airlift Wing and the 148th Fighter Wing. Not only does Best oversee operations and readiness for the units, but she is also in charge of manning, training and equipping them. Below are images of Best and the initial drawing, and one with artist Charles Kapsner.
The painting was installed, with the assistance of Tony Armagost and assistance from Ken Pachecki who built the frame, and on hand to provide the know how and major assistance hoisting it from the floor to the wall are staff from the Cemetery, including Kevin Doucette, Steven Cory Engen (who is also portrayed in the painting at bottom right), Val Pilarski, and Donald Stavish.
On Saturday, May 26th at 2:30 PM, the public dedication and unveiling of the Marine Corps painting will take place. It is the fourth of five 8 X 10 ft paintings comprising the Veterans Historic Art Monument, installed at the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls, MN. This painting joins three previously completed ones, Army (2011), Navy (2014) and Coast Guard (2016); each depicts the history of, and contributions by our nation’s military men and women.
Each painting uniquely captures the spirit of each branch of service, vividly portraying the stories, faces, and sacrifices of our Nation’s servicemen and women. Veterans and active duty military serve as models, and this painting also includes a small portion of soil brought back from Mt. Suribachi, where the iconic Raising the Flag photo on Iwo Jima was taken. The artist used the small portion of soil to grind in with paint as part of the depiction of the 1945 Marine Corps flag-raising.
The dedication and ceremony program includes Veterans and active duty personnel, some of whom served as models in the painting, dignitaries, Marine Corps re-enactors, and the artist. Scheduled to appear:
- Brigadier General Lowell Kruse, Camp Ripley
- David P. Swantek, Senior Administrator of Memorial Affairs (MDVA)
- Erik B. Sogge, Cemetery Administrator (MDVA)
- Veterans and active duty personnel depicted in painting: Roy T. Edwards Col. USMC (Ret.); Holly Zabinski, Major USMC; Cory Engen, Sgt. USMC (Ret.); Quintin Sam, Sgt. USMC (Ret.)
- Charles Gilbert Kapsner, Artist
- Greg Zylka, Mayor of Little Falls
- Military Honor Guard: Valhalla Detachment, Marine Corps League, St. Cloud
LOCATION: Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery Committal Hall, 15550 Hwy 115, Little Falls, MN. 320-616-2527
DULUTH, MN. – Veterans Memorial Hall, a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society, will unveil Minnesota artist Charles Kapsner’s Marine Corps tribute painting at the Duluth Depot. The temporary exhibition is an 8 foot by 10 foot oil painting and will include appearances by the artist. The painting will be displayed from May 17 to May 21 at Veterans Memorial Hall from 9am to 5pm.
This is the fourth in a series of five paintings honoring the women and men of each military branch. Regional in location, but national in scope, the paintings uniquely portray the stories, faces, and sacrifices of our nation’s servicewomen and men. Kapsner’s paintings are larger than life and well received by the families of military service veterans. Veterans and active duty military serve as models for the painting which includes soil from Mt. Suribachi which Kapsner ground into the paint as part of the depiction of the Marine flag-raising in 1945.
The artist previously created tribute paintings for the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. The last painting will pay tribute to the Air Force. All the paintings will be on permanent display in Committal Hall, Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls.
Jay Hagen, Veterans Memorial Hall Program Assistant
St. Louis County Historical Society
506 West Michigan Street
Duluth, MN 55802
It’s always a big deal to sign off on a painting, the final brush stroke completes it.