HJ - Extension Clarinda Painted Rocks

A sample of painted rocks provided by Iowa State University Extension in Clarinda (photo provided by Extension office)

If that flash of color caught your attention while walking along the Community Trail around the Lied Center, that’s OK.

You are encouraged to tell others you found that painted rock.

It may have even brightened your day – literally and figuratively.

Clarinda people are getting involved in the Kindness Rocks Project. A woman in Massachusetts was grieving from the loss of her parents and was looking for signs and symbols to help her cope. She knew there were others with similar feelings and eventually starting leaving encouraging messages on rocks. That concept has spread across the country.

Two years ago a Clarinda woman started her own painted rock promotion to get people active and engaged.

Now, they are adding to the kindness rock concept.

“I thought it was never going to work,” chuckled Tanya Dow about the rocks. “We painted 50, hid them, then started a Facebook page to get people aware.”

The page now has about 1,100 followers.

“It’s doing well,” she said.

The art on the rocks varies in addition to simple, encouraging words and phrases also painted. The rocks are then hidden in public places with the hopes people will find them and post their find on the Facebook page.

Rocks are going farther than just Clarinda parks and public places. A few rocks have made their way to London and Branson, Missouri, by way of people who recently visited Clarinda and took a rock.

“You can hide them anywhere you want to,” Dow said. “You are not required to hide it if you find one. You can keep it.”

It’s common for people to find a rock to take a picture of the rock and then share the image on the Facebook page called Clarinda Rocks.

“Just remember to spread the kindness,” she said.

You can also add to the rock collection. Organizers suggest using rocks small enough to be handheld, but large enough to notice some detail in the painting or read any messages. Acrylic paint is preferred and to use a sealant over the entire rock.

The rocks can be labeled. Dow said she has labels that can be attached to the rock so people who find the rock know it originated in Clarinda. The free labels are available at Pampered Pup, 221 N. 16th St.

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