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10 years of toil: Artist completes final panel in military branch series

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CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. — For a decade, artist Charles Kapsner of Little Falls has sketched, painted, researched and interviewed military personnel to ensure his 8-by-10-foot canvases are accurate to the minute detail.

Each contain symbolic details of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, and on Monday, Aug. 26, the final panel depicting the U.S. Air Force was hung in the committal hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. Kapsner began with five sketches and devoted 10 years to painting and listening to the stories of the veterans, many times using local people to pose for a portion of his canvas. Kapsner has spoken of emotional stories of friendships he’s developed with his models, and as they died and were buried in the cemetery where the panels now hang.

A student of history and detail, Kapsner breathed a sigh of relief Monday as the final panel was lifted and secured in place. Now, the final space in the committal hall interior is complete, with panels representing all five military branches.

An open house is planned for Sept. 15 with a tour of the cemetery and a reception at Camp Ripley.

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082719.N.BD.AirforcePanel.jpg
Artist Charles Kapsner of Little Falls feels the tension on the 8-by-10-foot canvas depicting the U.S. Air Force Monday, Aug. 26, before its installation in the final space on the committal hall wall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. After 10 years, Kapsner watched as the painting was lifted into place. Steve Kohls / Forum News Service

082719.N.BD.AirforcePanel.jpg
Artist Charles Kapsner of Little Falls feels the tension on the 8-by-10-foot canvas depicting the U.S. Air Force Monday, Aug. 26, before its installation in the final space on the committal hall wall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. After 10 years, Kapsner watched as the painting was lifted into place. Steve Kohls / Forum News Service

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