Rocks, some paint and a whole lot of joy is spreading across the Augusta area.
“The only point is to bring joy to others,” said Alissa Bates, who started a Facebook group called Augusta “Rocks!” in November, just a few weeks before relocating to the area from Washington state. In only three months, the group has more than 2,500 members, many of whom post to the page on a regular basis.
The members of Augusta “Rocks!” paint landscape rocks and leave them in other parts of the area for people to find. On Thursday, more than a dozen group members met at Pendleton King Park for their first paint party.
“It’s like a scavenger hunt,” said Bates, who was part of Vancouver Rocks while living in Washington. That group has more than 35,000 members in its Facebook group.
There’s also a North Augusta Rocks! group that began in November as well. It has about 1,100 members who are doing the same things as the Augusta Rocks! group, painting rocks and spreading joy. Bates said the North Augusta group got the idea from the one in Augusta.
The sky is the limit on designs. Some people paint elaborate designs. Some members use Pinterest for ideas. Others paint what they like such as Disney characters or super heroes. And some paint words such as love, joy or peace on the rocks. And if you don’t think you have any artistic ability, that is not a problem, said members.
Rebecca Dixon is doing a different kind of Easter egg hunt this year. She’s painting rocks and hiding them instead of eggs. She got in some work on her rocks at the painting party.
“I can’t paint,” Dixon said. “I mainly do abstract painting or things that don’t need a lot of talent.”
Shauna Hill also claims to have little talent for painting so she sticks to simple designs. She was painting hearts on rocks that will be hidden for the CSRA Heart Walk, to be held Saturday, along North Augusta’s Greeneway.
Members said the joy of it comes when someone finds a rock they’ve hidden and posts it in the Facebook groups.
“When little kids find them, they get excited, and adults do a happy dance,” said member Melinda Crider.
Bates said one particular story and photo gets her a little emotional. One of the members painted a rainbow and the words “somewhere over the rainbow” and placed it outside Children’s Hospital of Georgia. Someone found it and posted the photo of a hospitalized, child cancer patient smiling as he held the rock.
It’s not an expensive hobby. Bates said most members buy the rocks at Earth Tech South on Wheeler Road or at any of the home improvement stores. Then they use inexpensive acrylic craft paint for the designs. The most important step is sealing them to protect them from the elements. Then it’s time to hide them.
Bates said she was pleased with the attendance at the first paint party and would like to make them a monthly happening. To learn more, visit the Augusta Rocks! or North Augusta Rocks! group pages on Facebook.