The Erath County courthouse square will soon boast an impressive piece of artwork.

A local business owner, who has asked not to be named just yet, has commissioned a Fort Worth artist to make a creation he hopes will create buzz and excitement on the downtown square.

He said he hopes the piece will become an icon that generates a new wave of interest in shops and restaurants among residents and tourists.

The mystery will be solved on Saturday, June 28, during an unveiling that will feature live music, great food, giveaways and lots of hoopla. More information on that will come a little later.

But first, let's introduce the artist.

Johnny Pate knew he wanted to be an artist by the time he was four.

When he was just a child, his mother went back to school at University of North Texas to get a master's degree in art history, later teaching at TCU.

During the years when she was studying, so was her young son, wandering the halls at UNT looking for the professor who taught sculpture and soaking up all things related to architecture.

"My mother would bring me books starting with Old Yeller and then Leonardo Di Vinci - in that order," Pate quipped.

As he got older, his interest in creating art grew stronger.

He excelled in high school, competing at an art show in Cincinnati, Ohio his junior year.

"We stayed in a real swanky place called the Amsterdam Hotel," he said. "And on the 23rd floor, they had Dr Pepper. So one day I rode the elevator up there and the moment I stepped out, three burly guys shoved me back inside and said, 'This is Elvis' floor.' I said, 'Hey man, all I want is a Dr Pepper.'"

Pate got his Dr Pepper that day and made a memory of his near run-in with Elvis.

His thirst for art took him across Europe, where he studied museums in Germany and Florence, Italy, and the great pyramids in Egypt.

"I had a lot of great opportunities," he said. "Having those experiences gives you an extra level of confidence."

But it wasn't always easy.

"I would do murals so I could afford to go to Europe and even sold my Pinto," he laughed.

Pate graduated from TCU is 1983 with a degree in graphic art.

Over the years, he has been a guest muralist for the Amon Carter Museum and created a series of 40 murals for Texas Land & Cattle.

But today, Pate is working on his biggest project to date - one that will soon stand proudly on the Erath County Courthouse square.

He has spent the past two months focusing solely on the massive project, which is being worked on in a warehouse in Fort Worth because his studio was not large enough to accommodate it.

It's a piece of work Pate says he is proud of.

"I am very familiar with Stephenville and it's nice to see the square coming to life," he said. "It's exciting to be a part of that."