Beginnings (1998 – 2001)

Beginnings is an 18 X 41 foot fresco located in the Performing Arts Center of Lindbergh Elementary School in Little Falls, MN. The theme of the fresco focuses on the history of Central Minnesota and depicts the cultural heritage, events, economic factors, people, landscapes, architecture, industries and vocations–as well as other aspects of those who settled this region. The fresco was painted in three phases between 1998 – 2001, and was funded entirely by private funds.  The images below provide a glimpse of how each section unfolded, and the final image as seen today.

Beginnings was constructed in three phases. The Mississippi River is the background, with the right third depicting the varied occupations that brought people here, including fur trading, lumbering, agricultural, and railroads. Native Americans’ contributions and culture are highlighted. The central portion focuses on some of the nationalities of those who settled here, and is also a tribute to the  School of Athens , a fresco by Italian painter Raphael. Thirteen people in various poses on the staircase represent local vocations, various leisure activities, or hold flags of their homelands. The staircase is borrowed from a local church and has a column at the top and both sides topped by a Roman arch. In the background behind the figures is a flag stand holding the remaining flags of the settlers. In the foreground is a soldier–which pays tribute to the military’s presence via Camp Ripley.  On the steps sits a man working on his laptop computer–a likely “first” for a fresco to showcase an image of modern technology–which no school child could imagine not having! The left portion is reflective of the importance of the arts and sciences, with musicians, dancers, explorers and painters.  The Carnegie Library alludes to the importance of literature, and the beauty of architecture. The hot air balloons include a POW-MIA, as well as one that has a question mark–an allusion to the future and what lies ahead.




Beginnings Fresco