Photo of The Week: Ten Years Since 9/11
Artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen has spent the week in Waukee working on an outdoor painting to commemorate the events of Sept. 11. See the unveiling Sunday at Point of Grace Church.
The artist behind the popular Freedom Rock series near Menlo, IA, has created a new piece of art in Waukee honoring the events of 9/11.
Residents can observe the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a dedication ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Point of Grace Church, 305 N.E. Dartmoor Drive.
Ray “Bubba” Sorensen painted the mural this week. He first started painting rocks at the age of 19, when he called and asked a local rock quarry in his hometown of Menlo if he could paint a rock that been a target of graffiti for years.
Sorensen said he wanted to paint the rock with a patriotic theme, inspired by viewing the movie "Saving Private Ryan." Using house paint and whatever else he could find, Sorensen created a painting of Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima.
“Coming from someone who doesn’t serve, just saying thank you, hopefully that’s a morale boost,” Sorensen said.
Since painting the first Freedom Rock, its popularity, and Sorensen’s has grown tremendously. Sorensen has accepted commissions around the country, applying paint to all kinds of surfaces.
“Usually when they have something awkward to paint they call me,” Sorensen as a brushed paint onto the rock Thursday afternoon.
Sorensen said painting rocks isn’t like any other kind of artwork. House paint works best for painting the rocks because it’s able to expand and contract with changes in the weather. Still, he cautioned that with Iowa’s extreme temperatures there’s no way to make the painting permanent unless a sealer is applied to the finished product.
Sorensen said he’s always surprised by how much interest the Freedom Rock generates. After painting the rock for five years, he tried to turn the project over to someone else, but after receiving hundreds of phone calls, he kept going.
“It’s amazing that people would take the time to see a painted rock in the middle of nowhere, Iowa,” Sorensen said.