|Story & photo by Geneve N. Mankel, Public Affairs
A Soldier stationed at Fort McCoy placed second in the Novice Painting
category of the 2012 Army Arts and Crafts Contest.
Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Olsen, a
Soldier with the 2nd Battalion (Logistics Support), 411th
Regiment of the 181st Infantry Brigade, stands next to her
painting entitled “Saving Our Ensign.” Olsen’s effort earned her
second place in the Novice Painting category of the 2012 Army
Arts and Crafts Contest.
Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Olsen, a Senior Human Resources noncommissioned
officer with the 2nd Battalion (Logistics Support), 411th Regiment of
the 181st Infantry Brigade, won with her painting entitled “Saving Our
The painting depicts an eagle carrying a U.S. flag in its talons over a
mountainous region. “After 9/11 there was a feeling the nation was
ripped apart,” Olsen said. “The eagle represents the military saving the
country after 9/11.”
Olsen, who has been painting for about 34 years, began painting
patriotic/military-based themes after 9/11. She said she also enjoys
giving her paintings as retirement gifts to military personnel.
“I do it so they’ll remember me,” she said. “If they remember me, then
they’ll remember a part of the military.”
Olsen said she is inspired by photos she sees around her and in the
media with patriotic and Soldier themes. Her winning painting was
inspired by a photograph she had seen on someone’s desk.
Olsen painted the picture around Sept. 11 of last year. It took her
about eight hours during three sittings to complete the acrylic-paint
This was the first time Olsen entered the competition. “When I found out
I won I nearly fell out of my chair,” Olsen said. “I was very excited.”
Olsen was awarded a cash prize and a certificate that was presented to
her by her battalion commander.
The Army Arts and Crafts Contest is an annual competition of artwork
that recognizes the talent and originality of Soldiers, Family members
and Department of the Army civilians.
A complete list of winners and their work is available at the Arts and
Crafts page at
Fort McCoy no longer has an Arts and Crafts program, said Sheila
Peterson, Community Activity Center manager, but the Family and Morale,
Welfare and Recreation program ensures eligible patrons have the
opportunity to compete in Army-level contests.
“We have some very talented individuals here on the installation,” she
The next Arts and Crafts Program contest is the Digital Photography
Contest. Submissions will be accepted from Oct. 15-Nov. 30.
For more information, including eligibility, rules, and submission
guidelines, visit the website
Information also is available by calling Peterson at 608-388-4161.