I haven’t found any rocks yet. I’ve not really looked, either, but I know they’re out there. More than 20,000 people have joined the Facebook group “Augusta Rocks,” dedicated to the painting, hiding and finding of rocks. It’s pretty fascinating, really. Something as simple as a painted rock, lovingly hidden by the artist, sparks such joy for the finders.
People have had painting parties. Some didn’t even know they could paint or draw before they tried it out. Kids and adults alike are taking part. When The Augusta Players was performing “Beauty and the Beast” at the Imperial, we found Beast-themed painted rocks around the building.
As far as what you’d like to paint, the sky’s the limit. Truly.
You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. You don’t have to be super talented. Go to the Facebook page to find instructions on how to paint rocks the best way and follow a few rules for the group.
For those people who are new to this, here are the rules:
*Do not take rocks to paint from anyone’s personal property, business or natural water resource. Rocks are very cheap. Please purchase your rocks at Earth Tech South Inc. or any other landscaping supply businesses.
*When hiding a rock in a business, it is your responsibility to get permission before hiding it.
*No obscene or derogatory rocks. They only bring drama.
*No name calling, bashing or negativity will be tolerated. For instance, no ranting posts or negative experience posts.
*This group is only about painting and hiding rocks. No outside links allowed. There are many more Facebook groups for lost pets, etc.
*No selling and no asking to buy rocks on the page. You may only send someone a personal message asking to purchase a rock. It will not be displayed on the page in any form.
*If you are an artist making commissioned pieces, do not post a picture of your rock stating it is for a customer. That is seen as advertising.
*Please be vigilant where you hide your rocks. Hiding in tall grass or anywhere where lawn care workers might not notice them is not a good place for hiding.
I’ve included the rules, so you can see that it’s a generally happy place. Sometimes people even make specific requests for painted rocks, like a memorial to a pet. Every time a request is made, someone — a stranger — comes along and fulfills it. Most of the messages are happy ones. People are genuinely excited to find rocks, whether they set out on a hunt or happened upon a little rocky art. Painters also post photo clues from time to time.
But, there’s always that one person. Or maybe a couple of people. The rules are pretty clearly spelled out. They’re nicely stated, so as to not sound too bossy and restrictive, but to clearly say, “Don’t be a jerk!”
So, here’s what went down: A very excited lady posts a pictured of all the rocks she and her very excited children found at Phinizy Swamp. She doesn’t mention “rehiding” (a verb, used often on the site, which must be a real word by now) the rocks she’s found, which many people do, but she doesn’t say she isn’t doing it either.
People jump all over her for taking too many rocks. Listen, people. Are you really that upset because someone happily found 20 rocks today? Get over it. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
By us, I mean me, because I can’t wait to find a rock. I may “rehide” it, but I may keep it for myself. I might even try to hide some of my own. I’m not a great painter, so no judging my skills or anyone else’s painting abilities.
Be happy for each other and be kind. This is a cool little project, Augusta. Bravo! Augusta rocks, y’all!