Renton Rocks: An art project for the entire community
By TRACEY COMPTON
Renton Reporter Staff writer
May 26, 2011 · 2:23 PM
What’s bright, speckled, in an assortment of colors and found all over town by toddlers, City Council members, business owners and random people?
Renton Rocks, of course.
The social experiment Renton Rocks takes rock painting to a new level, spreading goodwill and social networking with some hidden surprises.
“Renton Rocks is kind of an art community project that I started with my family,” said Eachean Edmundson. “It was inspired by somebody doing something similar online and my kids and I happened to be at the beach one day and they were collecting rocks and they ended up with a lot, like 100.”
Edmundson said his children, Milo, 6 and Mabry, 4, filled their pockets and boots up with rocks at Alki Beach in Seattle. He told them about his idea to paint the rocks and leave them around Renton for people and they thought it was a good idea. He added a Renton Rocks Facebook address to the backs of the rocks and the idea got rolling.
“And we started leaving them around the town and people started responding to it,” said Edmundson. “So it was kind of just like a little family art project that we started, kind of a lark and it just kind of snowballed into what it is now.”
He was surprised to get just 40 people on Facebook that “liked” his posts and pictures of rocks all over Renton. Now he has more than 250 followers who post that they enjoy the project or who have found his family’s creatively decorated rocks. They hide the rocks almost every day and are now in their ninth week of the project. Mabry and Milo love checking to see how many “fans” the Facebook page has everyday.
The idea came from a family blog called “Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty,” a father and his four children.
Edmundson, who is a graphic designer and freelance illustrator, wanted to share the experience with his family because he saw it originally as an extension of his family’s art making and Facebook sharing with friends and family online.
He has lived with his family in Renton for 12 years and originally was from Florida. Edmundson considers Renton home.
He doesn’t remember painting rocks as some people did when he was a child, but he does remember making pet rocks.
“It’s become something different than what I expected it would and intended it to be, but it’s all about just kind of having fun and spreading a little surprise and joy to the rest of the community,” said Edmundson. “That’s what Renton Rocks is.”
He’s gotten a lot of great feedback from the Facebook page, people who are interested and excited to play a part in his family’s sneaky and endearing scheme.
There was a woman and her son who were so inspired by the project that they decided to paint their own rocks and deposit them around town.
For the Facebook page’s 200th fan, Edmundson asked them what they wanted as a keepsake for being the 200th person on the site. She wanted him to paint Spiderman on a rock. So, he did and met her and she was really appreciative, he said.
Usually Edmundson’s kids will paint, but for how long depends on their attention spans, which vary from day to day. He finishes up what they start and his wife, Stephanie and sister-in-law, Casey Ruiz get involved too.
“I get responses from people saying like thanking me and thanking us for doing it and saying that they’ve really felt more connected to the community after having participated in it,” Edmundson said. “I get a real kick out of people saying that it made their day or made their child’s day when they find them.”
To view some Renton Rocks or post where you found yours, search Facebook for “Renton Rocks.”Contact Renton Reporter Staff writer Tracey Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-255-3484, ext. 5052.