Popular painted rocks making their way to Atmore

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Painted rocks with positive messages will soon be found all over the place as the most recent fad has come to Atmore.

Susan Smith, a city councilwoman and Atmore resident, said on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., she noticed a painted rock on her way to the Capitol.

“I picked it up and it had Washington, D.C., and had somebody’s name on it,” Smith said. “I didn’t think about it.”

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Smith said she brought the rock home, and while in Montgomery a couple weeks later, she found two rocks. Sometime later, she went to Pensacola, Fla., and there were several rocks there.

“You couldn’t walk two blocks without seeing these rocks,” she said. “There are some talented people out there.”

Smith got curious about these painted rocks after finding another one at a gas station in Prattville. She messaged her friend, Jim Byard, who was the former director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, and asked what the deal was about the rocks.

“He sent me the rules and what it was all about,” she said. “In the mean time, I started doing it and putting it on Facebook. People started finding them.”

Smith said her first rock included a message to go to city hall and the finder would be surprised with a gift.

Smith said the rules include not hiding the rocks, to not damage property and to place them out in the open.

One of the benefits of having the painted rocks is the ability to leave positive or inspiring messages on them, Smith said.

“When you find one, you want to take pride in your city,” she said. “You can write a message to pick up trash, or put a buggy back and be nice to somebody.”

Smith recalled a story about a person who picked up one of her painted rocks. She said the person contacted her and told her that her day was turned around for the better after seeing the sunshine she painted on the rock.

Smith said anyone can join in on the activity, noting that Wanda Gibbs, Brooke Marsh, Nancy Helton and Mary Harper, among others, have joined in the fun.