A movement to spread joy and kindness in the community has been growing in the Stevens Point Area. This group, from all walks of life, creates masterpieces of all shapes and sizes using paint and rocks. Hidden in plain view, you'll spot these works of art throughout the region along trails, in parks and near businesses. Read on to learn more about #PointRocks and some of the people behind the painted rocks.
Stacey Cisewski didn't really know much about the #PointRocks (a painted rock movement) until the safer at home order. During a walk through the neighborhood, she stumbled across some hidden rocks and started following the Facebook page marked on the back of one of the rocks. Since then, she and her family have become obsessed with painting and hiding their own creations using it as a fun hobby. Her inspiration comes from designs she thinks will make others smile. Her favorite (she's painted so far)? Peanuts-inspired designs (pictured below). Her favorite rock she's found? She says it's a toss-up between the Tiger King-themed rock or the beautiful swan rock. She and her family have found over 200 rocks in the last month, rehiding all but six so far.
For others venturing out, the joy of finding them is just the beginning. Jenni Patoka and her family have recently started adventuring to seek out hidden rocks. She says the look on her 7-year-old daughter's face when she spotted her first one sparked interest in painting their own, and rehiding ones they find. Why does she love it? "The best thing is it's something that is fun and exciting to do outside together!"
Why do they enjoy it?
"The best thing is it's something that is fun and exciting to do outside together!"
For one local woman, the motivation was to spread smiles. Kristen Quimby and her husband enjoy walking in the afternoon and after an invite to the Point Rocks Facebook page, she decided to start creating their own to hide. The same night she hid rocks, people posted they had found them. Her advice on where to find inspiration? "Just thinking about what would be fun to see on a random rock is all you need."
Some find it a perfect mix of ways to blend creativity and bringing joy to others. Lisa Peterson, who started painting rocks last year, has hidden more than 75 to date. Her most recent works incorporate phrases from songs that apply to the current social distancing protocol, for example, the Police song 'Don't stand so close to me'.
While others, including Natasha Monahan, sees it as a way to put their skills to use. Natasha is an elementary and middle school art teacher and she misses the joy of connecting children with art. Painting and hiding her works have helped bridge the gap while spreading joy through the hidden art.
Where to find inspiration?
"Just thinking about what would be fun to see on a random rock is all you need."
For a Cause
Of course, the goal is to spread joy, not only for those who find them but for the painters as well. That is certainly one of the reasons Mary Goldsmith has been painting. She uses the creative outlet to spread smiles to others, but also help boost her own wellbeing. She owns and operates a free little painted rock gallery in Appleton, though it is not uncommon to have rocks travel, as people find them and rehide them.
For another local woman, Brittany Wynn, this project is a way to help raise awareness for a condition facing her daughter, known as NF. The Children's Tumor Foundation has started the #EndNF campaign to bring to light the genetic disorder known as Neurofibromatosis, which affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide. In addition to helping bring awareness for NF, she enjoys painting animals, cartoons, flowers, and other images that inspire her.
Jeanette Conley has been a long-time rock painter, hiding her works for more than 5 years. Recently, she was stunned to see hundreds of painted rocks with encouraging messages lining the sidewalk outside of Roosevelt Elementary in Plover. The school, inspired last fall by the Kindness Rocks movement, had students create kindness rocks. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to distribute them to students to hide this spring. Instead, they created a garden of kindness rocks in front of the school for the entire community to help share.
Painting for Fun
Other #PointRocks participants, like Meghann Czech, were just thankful for the activity to do, while they were staying safer at home. She says it gave her family something to do at home, builds in a bit more purpose for walks, and provides a sense of community involvement.
Katie Huber has found her new favorite date night idea, spending time creating rocks to hide around the region. She and her husband have taken to painting themes. He loves to paint animals (especially reptiles), while she is on a quest to paint the first 150 Pokemon in their pokeballs! She says the activity has kept her family hopeful, active, and together. "Our toddler is filled with pure joy every time he spots one on his own!"
But, there doesn't have to be a complicated reason to paint. In fact, Amy Jochman shared her simple reason - just for fun.
One reason to paint?
"Just for fun."
Want to join the fun?
While anyone can be an artist, here are a few tips from the experts:
No matter the design, be sure to seal your rocks. This will ensure your handiwork doesn't run off in the elements.
Be sure not to place rocks on any surface that could cause problems - including large grassy areas, to ensure rocks don't become hazards for lawnmowers.
Skip adding extras like glitter, pom-poms, googly eyes to your rock. These could fall off and become litter or worse - a hazard to wildlife.
Best spots to find them:
Locals recommend heading to Iverson Park, Bukolt Park, and Downtown. Others mentioned Locomotive #2713 or strolling the Green Circle Trail. Other spots, where rocks are commonly hidden and found, include the Schmeeckle Reserve and the Stevens Point Sculpture Park. For more, venture to Jordan Park.
They can be anywhere, which is part of the fun! Keep your eyes open, and don't forget to look in the nooks and crannies of trees or near businesses! Don't see them along your favorite route? Consider painting your own and hiding them for others to find! Many rock hunters carry a bag, to help collect any trash they spot along the way, too.