A southwest Iowa artist has won international acclaim for his patriotic paintings on a giant rock in Adair County. On Sunday, 28-year-old Ray "Bubba" Sorensen will unveil his latest work, a full decade after he first covered over graffiti with a mural to honor American veterans.
Ginny Kuhfus, executive director of the Greenfield Chamber, says the new mural will be unveiled, then Patriot Guard motorcycle riders will escort Sorensen to Greenfield. He’ll be set up in the Opera House to give a talk and sign autographs for fans as a thank you for all he’s done. Sorenson’s his first mural on the rock in 1999 was entitled "Thank You Veterans for our Freedom."
Since then, his works have paid tribute to the victims of 9-11 and veterans of each war this county has fought in. Kuhfus says Sorensen’s murals take him about a month to complete and his work is always done just in time for Memorial Day. She says Sorensen hasn’t given any hint as to what the theme of this year’s mural will be.
The Sunday event is called "Rocking with Bubba and Rolling in Greenfield" and it’ll begin at the boulder at 1 P.M., about a mile south of Interstate 80, just off Highway 25. Kuhfus says "The Rock" has drawn visitors from all over the world and has been an economic boon to Greenfield. She says some people show up without cameras and come into town to buy disposable cameras.
Some have arranged through the Chamber to meet Bubba and are often shocked at how young he is — at 28. She says visitors expect to see an old man, because his murals have accurately and respectfully reflected battles and scenes from so long ago, in addition to more recent conflicts. As the tourist spot grew in popularity, a lighted flag pole and a kiosk were erected to offer visitors a chance to see the mural at night and to leave comments. Kuhfus says plans are in the works to make it even more visitor-friendly.
A Boy Scout who’s working on his Eagle Scout project is expanding the kiosk and will add a handicapped-accessible picnic area. For more information visit the Rock website.