Can joy and kindness be spread through rocks? Plano resident and artist Brandi Cooper King believes so, and she has proof – every smile she gets to see whenever someone finds one of her group’s many painted rocks hidden anonymously around the community.
“I thought it was such a cool idea — just doing something that makes people happy,” she said.
Brandi got the idea after seeing a story about a woman in Massachusetts who started leaving painted rocks on the beach for people to find. It motivated her to create the Plano Happy Rocks group on Facebook in July last year. She soon discovered that three months prior another woman had already started a Plano rock group.
“I messaged and apologized to her, but she said there is plenty of room for plenty of rocks!” Brandi said. “We are now at 191 members, and we are growing.”
What Brandi finds most heartwarming is when parents get together with their kids, paint the rocks together and hide them together. Popular places are parks, libraries and schools. Some are hidden at restaurants, shelves of schools and anywhere that’s not dangerous where people might trip. Brandi loves knowing that kids are spending a little time painting rocks rather than just being on a gaming system or watching television.
The group has paint parties, and it meets at Norma’s Café in Plano the second Sunday of the month to have a rock swap. The rule is to bring two rocks – one to keep and one to hide. When rocks are discovered out in the wild, lucky explorers will notice a note written on them. “Keep me, leave me or hide me somewhere new.” It also asks the discoverer to please post on Facebook with the hashtag #PlanoHappyRocks.
“They are so excited about finding them. One lady found one of our rocks in Belize! People have left rocks in Italy and the Vatican,” Brandi said. “I recently went to the Bahamas and left some there. If group members travel, they take rocks with them.”
There is no set theme for how the rocks should be painted, but holidays are a time to inspire certain kinds of designs. Ultimately, inclusivity is a cornerstone of Plano Happy Rocks; you don’t have to be an artist to join. The range of talent goes from folks who say they can’t paint well to highly skilled and experienced artists, but Brandi said that’s not the point.
“I don’t care if you just paint the rock blue, it doesn’t matter what’s on it. Someone is going to find that rock and smile and you did that,” she said. “We are here just to spread kindness, happiness and have fun.”
Wondering how to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 17? Try hiding a painted rock to brighten someone’s day.Plano Happy Rocks >