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It's a labor of love for Las Vegas Veterans Memorial artist

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Updated: 5/01 8:58 am
it will be a first for the state of Nevada. -- a veteran's memorial that spans generations of conflicts ad honoring our nation's heroes. News 3 reported about plans to build the memorial last night and onight we continue our series with a look at the artist behind the project.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- For Douwe Blumberg, re-creating history is a labor of love. And for the past two years, his affair has been with one of his most ambitious projects ever – the Las Vegas Veterans Memorial.

“My idea was to create something that was very different and very wide in its scope,” he said. “To me the veteran’s experience is very complex and multi-faceted.”

Blumberg was selected among hundreds of other artists to create the new memorial.

Working from his converted barn/studio in Kentucky, he transforms lifeless clay into moving works of art.

“So when I’m sculpting I have to remember, ‘Who’s next to him?’ ‘Where are they going to be seen from?’ ‘What’s the point?’ ” he said.

The challenge is one Blumberg has met many times before.

Most recently he was commissioned to create a Special Forces monument at the Ground Zero/9-11 Memorial in New York.

The Las Vegas project, he says, is an even larger-scale task -- an 18-figure monument that spans generations of conflicts, dating to the Revolutionary War.

He is as anxious as anyone to see it completed.

“I’ve lived with these guys intimately, but I’ve not seen the monument,” he said. “Because the monument is more than just these single pieces; it’s the whole thing.”

While Blumberg is obviously physically invested in the project, he is emotionally invested as well. As the son of a veteran, he wants the story to be accurate – the pain, the sacrifice -- and the triumph to be tangible.

“The piece itself, the progression and being able to walk in and around the figures, and they’ll probably be a plaque explaining each figure will be almost a self-explanatory, very effective, very visual and very impactful history lesson,” Blumberg said.

Ten individual pieces he says will be cast in magnesium-alloy, providing an almost ghostly appearance. Eight additional modern-day figures will be cast in bronze; those will be much more detailed.

And among the military heroes will be a modern-day family, symbolizing their own struggle and sacrifice.

“The older veteran can come and be moved, but also learn,” Blumberg said. “I want his or her 10-year-old granddaughter or grandson to have a similar experience.”

Blumberg says he hopes the memorial is not just a history lesson but also a bonding opportunity -- one that will both honor veterans and inspire future generations.


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