Living Liberty, the "living" Statue of Liberty Entertainer!

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Living Liberty

"I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."
                                    Nelson Mandela

Origins of Being Green

Jennifer Stewart, a/k/a Living Liberty, was born and raised in Audubon, Iowa, a small farming community in the southwest corner of the state. Founded in 1878, Audubon hosts a current population of 2,524, and as these two photographs attest (circa 1900 & 2000), little has changed in the last 100 years. Therein lies the beauty of Stewart's hometown.

Graduating high school in 1976, Stewart set out for college, eventually earning a B.A. degree in art/psychology from the University of Iowa. Stewart worked as an art teacher throughout college in a number of different institutions for special needs individuals, ranging from private care facilities for mentally/emotionally impaired adults to group homes for disturbed children. While teaching at the Johnson County Care Facility in Iowa City in 1985, one of her students commented he thought she looked like the Statue of Liberty.

Ironically, the next year Stewart happened to read about a national Statue of Liberty look-alike contest being held in celebration of Liberty's 100th birthday. Jennifer never would have considered entering such a contest if not for her former student’s comment.  He must have been on to something, because on July 1, 1986 during a live broadcast of the CBS Morning News, Stewart was crowned the National Winner of the Statue of Liberty Centennial Look-Alike Contest, beating out 1,000 other hopefuls in the process.

With no intention of ever actually pursuing a career as a "living" Statue of Liberty, Stewart and her then husband moved to New York City so she could begin a graduate program in art therapy at New York University.  As fate would have it, Jennifer never finished graduate school, but instead, began a journey as Living Liberty that would ultimately take her around the world, far surpassing her wildest dreams.  Stewart continues to live in New York, all the while carrying her torch in her ongoing pursuit for life, liberty, and happiness.

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