Kelowna resident, Crystal Weber, started an inspiring project last year after finding a painted rock during a visit to Nelson, BC. The colorful, painted rock had travelled to Nelson from rock painters in the states.
Crystal loved the idea and was immediately inspired to start a painted rock group closer to home and start hiding her own painted rocks. It fit well with her hobby of geocaching:
“Geocaching is a worldwide game that uses satellites and coordinates for players to find geocaches that have been hidden throughout the world. Hiding painted rocks definitely plays into my love of geocaching, but whereas geocaching is meant to be subtle and hidden, painted rocks are put out into the world to be seen by everyone.
I like the idea of painted rocks being able to be shared with everyone, and to be able to bring a smile to anyone’s face, whether they actively participate or not. I tell my group not to get discouraged if their rock isn’t shared as its purpose is to make someone smile and it will have done that.”
Crystal herself is based in Kelowna, however, the group is for anyone, anywhere. Currently participants are hiding and finding rocks in the Thompson Okanagan region, the lower mainland area, Prince George, Alberta and down through the States as far south as Arizona. There is no requirement to live or hide in a certain area or town. Currently, there are 213 people in the Facebook group and the project can also be followed on Instagram:
“Rocks can be painted using mediums such as acrylic paints, paint pens and sharpies. We ask that you seal your rock with a clear coat outdoor sealer to help preserve your art as well as protect the environment. Once your rock is complete, but before you seal it, we ask that you tag the back of it with the hashtag #ylwrocks to help people discover our group.
You can also write ‘keep or re-hide’ if you would like the finder to know they may keep your creation if they have fallen in love with it, move it along to help spread the joy further or leave it where you found it for others in the area to continue to enjoy. The entire purpose of the group is to brings smiles to the world, one painted rock at a time.
The response to the group has been wonderful. I am so proud of the positivity that encompasses the group. Everyone is here to bring joy to others and support one another. Painting rocks is such a simple way to spread kindness. It requires no skill level and any age can participate. All art is appreciated and helps to brighten someone’s day.”
Crystal and her group welcome anyone and everyone to join them. Their only ask is that you keep your creations family friendly. So please no profanity, vulgarity or hate speech. That goes against everything the group stands for. Joining them is as simple as choosing a rock, giving it a scrub with soap and water and letting your imagination take you away!
Rocks can be hidden in any public space. If you choose to hide on a private property, the group asks that you ensure you have permission from the land or building owner.
If you have found a rock that isn’t tagged with their group hashtag, that is okay to share as well. There are no limits to which painted rocks you share. Everyone and any art is welcomed:
“Now more than ever, I feel that our group has an important role in society. This Covid-19 pandemic has been tough for everyone. Social distancing is not what humans are use to doing. We love our bonds with other humans and having to stay away is hard, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. By hiding and sharing painted rocks, it gives us an outlet to support one another from afar.
Sharing kind words, some bright colours or beautiful images are wonderful ways of lifting each other’s spirits. It is amazing how much happiness one little painted rock can bring to someone. Never underestimate the power of a small act of kindness. To you, it may just be some paint on a rock, but to the person who sees it, it may be just the thing they need to feel less alone during these trying times.
Painting rocks can also be wonderful therapy. There is something so satisfying about putting paint to rock and knowing that you are spreading joy in the world. I encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try. And if you are unsure where to start, we welcome you to join our group, ask questions or just hang out and watch what others are doing for awhile. Together we can make the world a brighter place, safely, with one small rock at a time.” -CW