Give Now

Brown County Veteran Creates Non-Profit To Help Other Vets

Magnus Johnson created Elder Heart, a non-profit that will pay veterans to create public art.

  • drill

    Image 1 of 4

    Photo: Kyle Clayton

    Johnson uses limestone, geodes and metal to create his sculpture.

  • lift

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Kyle Clayton

    Johnson drills holes to insert re-bar which will mount two pieces of limestone together.

  • piece

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Kyle Clayton

    Johnson and Connor place the fractured pieces back together.

  • wound

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Kyle Clayton

    Johnson and Connor plan for the steel brackets that will repair the crack.

In an effort to ease his own difficult transition from military to civilian life, a Brown County Army veteran is finding a way to help others. Magnus Johnson created Elder Heart, a non-profit that will pay veterans to create public art.

Johnson swings a sledge hammer into a limestone block, hoping to split a fissure in the rock to create a crack. His next step will be to bracket the stone back together with steel bands–a symbol for a healed wound.

He is selling this sculpture to a Philadelphia business owner. The profits will fund another art project Johnson hopes he can pay other veteran’s to work on.

Johnson served in the Army and the Special Forces for eight years, spending more than 28 months in combat. And when he came to Brown County after his discharge, the new life he was looking forward to didn’t pan out like he thought it would.

“Severe headaches, depression, apathy, being lethargic and what I finally started to realize was that I didn’t have a network of friends,” Johnson says. “I didn’t have a network that I was staying closely attached and related to. I wasn’t involved in anything.”

He befriended local artist Jim Connor who let him use the tools in his shop for a creative outlet.

“We decided, through artwork, to try and help people and not just for the soldiers but for the community so we got this idea to create public art pieces that are built by combat veterans,” Connor says.

The art can be a way of starting a dialogue between veterans and civilians.

“What we’re talking about are these experiences that were significant, traumatizing, humbling,” Johnson says.

Johnson is looking for more people to get involved in his next project; a steel liar’s bench that will stay on display in Nashville when it’s complete.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

View all posts by this author »

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.langley.376 Jeremy Langley

    That’s nice…. Even after he’s came home he still wants to build a bench for his Commander in Chief…… What a guy!

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook