Local families are painting rocks to spread kindness in Charm City

Posted at 5:11 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 18:21:22-04

Painting isn't the easiest thing for a toddler, but at nearly two years old, Violet Wagner is as passionate as Picasso as she dabs paint on rocks the size of her hands.

Friday’s outside arts and crafts session is more than just a time-filler. After being painted and decorated, the colorful stones will be hidden and hopefully discovered by someone else.

"My girls and I have hidden rocks all throughout the city, we've put them in Riverside Park, Federal Hill Park, Carroll Park, Druid Hill Park,” said Stefanie McKenzie.

The South Baltimore woman brought the trend back to Baltimore in the spring.

She launched the Baltimore Rocks! Facebook page about five months ago, and the group already has close to 500 members.

"It’s just about bringing people together and bringing some happiness to people through a very simple act," McKenzie said.

However, people aren't just painting and hiding rocks here in Charm City. The local effort joins a national movement that's been around since 2015 called The Kindness Rocks Project.

No matter where you live, the point of the rock hiding craze remains the same, to spread joy and encouragement.

"You see one and it instantly brings a smile to your face to think about the person who decorated it,” said Rachel Wagner. “And sometimes it has an inspirational message, and that just really hits home for people."

The painted rocks are hidden in plain sight, between the branches of a tree, on a park bench, even inside a commemorative cannon.

Usually, it's discovering the covert stones that's most exciting. Finding them is like a treasure hunt!

"Everywhere we go they're looking in planters, and people's stoops, next to the stoops, they're looking in gardens,” Wagner said. “It's cool."

Snapping pics of your find is highly encouraged. Then you can re-hide the rock, or keep it for inspiration.

"If someone likes it enough to hold onto it, then that's pretty special,” said McKenzie. “But I know it is also exciting to see that someone has found your rock, and a lot of the times when people find rocks they'll post it on the Facebook page."

Either way, the movement is spreading kindness around our region. One rock at a time.