Any number of people have wanted to peek under the tent flaps, or even knock on the tent that has been sitting on the southwest corner of the Monroe County Courthouse lawn for the past week or so.
A word to the wise. Don’t.
There probably ought to be a sign posted “mural artist at work.” Bubba Sorenson, one of the most popular mural artists in the Midwest, is working on his 87th Freedom Rock painting. He won’t bark at you or anything, but he is under a fairly strict deadline and wants to be heading out of town by Friday.
Sorenson started his painting on Friday, did a little more work on Saturday, then took Sunday off to be inducted into the United States Wrestling Hall of Fame, receiving the Outstanding American Award from none other than Dan Gable. Sorenson was a high school wrestler a couple of decades ago.
Today the 40-year-old Greenfield resident is a full-time mural painter and a Republican member of the Iowa House of Representatives from District 20. His work with Freedom Rocks started 21 years ago when he did the original one near his home. In 2013 he started the Freedom Rock tour, with the goal of painting a Freedom Rock in every Iowa county. That journey has taken him out of state where he has painted three in Missouri and rocks in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, along with a rock in Washington state.
Monroe Countians are going to be surprised and pleased at what the artist and amateur historian has chosen for the themes of the rock. There will be a U.S. flag and a patriotic theme as well as an historical element.
As a bit of a teaser, James Stevens was a WWI veteran best know for creating the characters Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox and authoring books on the mythical northwest timber characters. And Appanoose County claims him because some histories have only the fact that he was raised on a farm “near” Iconium. He was born in Albia and his parent’s rental farm was in Monroe County.
That’s all you need to know for now.
Sorensen hopes to be done and on to his next project by week’s end. There will be an official unveiling of the rock announced by the Freedom Rock Committee.