I had 60 acres of art and trails to myself when I visited Caponi Art Park for a hike Sunday. The park was built by Anthony Caponi beginning in 1950 as a home for his young family and a studio for making his huge stone and metal sculptures. The whole park is a sculpture, every bit of it -- house, studio, sculptures, and the grounds -- built by Caponi himself.
The park is steep and hilly and filled with huge old growth trees. As I walked through this corridor lined with towering pines, I thought, this seems like a good place to see a deer. No sooner had I had the thought than I heard a startling snort and a big buck leaped from his bed under the pines and took off through the woods!
This 3-dimensional mural, The Lady of Pompeii, lines a walkway. It depicts an archeological dig, as if the figures have been partially excavated from the volcanic ash.
A truly generous man, Caponi gave these 60 acres to a non-profit agency and the city of Eagan a few years ago. He is an old man now and he and his wife still live in the modest house that he built himself into a hillside in the center of the park. There is a schedule of plays and music in the natural outdoor amphitheater, and art lessons in the studio, all free and open to the public. Caponi's sculptures can be found in cities and churches in the Midwest.
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