Perchance you were picking up your weekly groceries and noticed one in the corner of your eye. Or you were paying a utility bill at City Hall and spotted one on the public grounds. Did you see one at the drive-thru of your favorite local eatery?
Painted rocks are popping up around Vidor, and Angie Jacobs Beaumont knows why.
One year ago, Jacobs Beaumont started the Facebook group, "Vidor Rocks". This group paints palm-sized, smooth river rocks with naturistic images and inspirational messages. Then they tag them #VidorRocks, and hide them around town for others to find, photograph, share on social media, and re-hide. Members often post pictures of the painted rocks they've found around the city and rocks they plan to hide themselves for others to find. The idea is for those lucky enough to find these painted rocks to either keep the rock, hide them again later or make their own to replace it. As a result, the group has grown to well over 250 members in the short time it has been online.
When asked where she got the idea, Jacobs Beaumont said that she and a friend in Washington were discussing ways to bring attention to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. CMT is a nerve disorder that affects 2.5 million people of every age and is the most common inherited neuropathy. Her friend had heard of a group local to Washington that were doing a 'hide and seek' with hand-painted rocks. After receiving a box full of painted rocks from her friend, Jacobs Beaumont knew she had found the delivery method for her message. Unsurprisingly, the movement has grown from one voice with a single message, to a chorus of voices with many messages.
How can you get in on it?
"Rocks are painted with acrylic paint, then sealed with a spray sealer to hold the paint in place," Jacobs Beaumont said, as she displayed a rock emblazoned with a stylized sunflower.
First, get a hand full of rocks. You can use rocks you find on your own property, or you can buy rocks at your local home improvement stores or arts and crafts stores. Rounded, flat rocks are the most popular, but any rock with a clean, paintable surface will do. Next, wash the rocks with plain water. Paint will not stick to dirty rocks. Allow the rocks to dry before painting. Now paint! Common themes are animals, birds, Pirate Pride, and inspirational quotes. Consider the shape of the rock. Does it resemble a big juicy strawberry? Maybe it resembles a fish or an owl? Let your imagination run wild. Once you have your rock painted, give it a spray with a transparent sealer, and allow it to dry completely.
Now comes the fun part; Snap a quick selfie of you and your rock and post it to the Vidor Rocks Facebook group. In the description, write a clue that gives others an idea where your rock might be found. Remember, you'll want to 'hide' your rock somewhere it's likely to be found. The goal is not to hide them so well they'll never be found, but to place them somewhere unexpected so that others may enjoy them.
According to the group, finding rocks painted and placed by other members is just as much fun as painting them, if not more so. One member commented that finding rocks placed by others was more satisfying than playing 'Pokemon GO'. Another member remarked, "searching for painted rocks is a great way to spend more time outdoors".
Note: Don't hide rocks where others will have to climb to reach them, or where someone might trip on them. Avoid hiding rocks in grass, and always remember to respect the property of others.