Freedom Festival mural brings splash of red, white and blue to downtown Cedar Rapids

Solon artist transforms windows of Hills Bank and Trust Co.

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Todd Woodburn pours white latex house paint into a small cup in the back of his red Pontiac Vibe.

He calls his vehicle the “Paint vibrator.”

He grabs a small foam brush and walks to the corner of 3rd Street SE and 3rd Ave. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids, where he has spent the better part of two days creating a red, white and blue mural to promote the city’s annual Freedom Fest.

Carefully, he dips the brush into the paint and then pulls it down a large window on the Hills Bank and Trust Co. window. The boarder of the letter “V” in the word “Festival” begins to pop.

“I wanted it to have a little wave to it,” said Woodburn, owner of Art N. Devours in Solon. “It gives you the sense of a flag.”

Woodburn started work on the mural, which wraps around the front of the bank building, on Wednesday. Using a yellow highlighter and large level, he mapped out the space along nine large windows. Then, he set about painting. He said he uses regular latex paint and part of the job involves coming back to scrape it all away once the mural has lived its life.

“I use a big razor blade to take it off,” he said.

Woodburn, 38, has been in business for three years. He says he advertises by word of mouth and through his Facebook page. He said the Freedom Festival mural was a paying gig, but he amped up the scope of the project as a donation.

As he wrapped up Thursday afternoon, he took a step back to admire and inspect his work.

“That’s it,” he said with satisfaction in his voice. “I’m done. Now I’m going home to rest.”

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