Rockin’ the park with unexpected painted treasures

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Life Moments column by Christine Bryant

Photo courtesy of Misty Day-Booher
Interested in learning more about painting rocks? The Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department will host Misty Day-Booher of Reynoldsburg Rocks! from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 20 at the JFK Park gazebo, 7232 E. Main St. The event is free, though participants must pre-register at sports.bluesombrero.com/Reynoldsburg. All supplies will be provided, though attendees are invited to bring their favorite rock to paint.

Next time you’re walking through a local park and something catches your eye, take a look. It might be the work of a local artist.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard of the latest phenomenon sweeping social media pages.

Painting rocks and hiding them for others to find is a new trend among those who love the idea of treasure hunting and see the beauty in adding a little bit of inspiration to our surroundings.

Take a look on Facebook and you’ll find pages like “Reynoldsburg Rocks!”, “Columbus Ohio Rocks!”, “Grove City Ohio Rocks” and “London OH Rocks. You’ll quickly see how this craft-based activity is growing.

The idea is to decorate rocks and hide them in various public locations to brighten someone’s day. You can use paint or sharpies to decorate, followed by a clear coat sealer to preserve the art.

If you are out and about, walking through a park or other public area and find one, turn it over and you’ll likely see “Post a picture to Columbus Ohio Rocks!” so that the rock’s journey can be documented. Some will even encourage you to put the rock back or take it with you and hide elsewhere.

Several communities are catching on to this activity, with organizations like Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offering rock painting classes. If you’re planning to attend the upcoming Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival Aug. 18 and 19, keep your eyes open for a handful of rocks hidden throughout the festival that appropriately are painted like a tomato.

I must admit, some of the effort that has gone into painting these rocks is impressive. They’re gorgeous – like miniature works of art. Others are perhaps not as detailed, but are instead fun and comical.

Either way, each carries its own personality and brings out the inner child in all of us – whether it’s by breaking out the art supplies or by feeling like we struck gold when we stumbled across one in the park.

One thing to note if you’re thinking about testing out your artistic skills. Hiding painted rocks in federal parks is not permitted. In fact, in general, you aren’t supposed to remove items of any kind from federal parks or introduce items that aren’t naturally found there.

Having said that, many municipalities and public places embrace this activity, and if central Ohio is indicative of this trend, there’s plenty of painted rocks out there to discover.
Happy hunting!

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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