Hide and seekers ensure Brevard Rocks
Jaxon Curley of Viera finds an 'awesome' rock at Viera Regional Park with his grandfather.
photo by Linda Wiggins
The Avenue Viera is overrun with hiders and seekers. Laleh Castano says her favorite part of the family activity that has become a grassroots craze is knowing she will put a smile on the finder's face.
How did this fun, free outdoor pastime of painting and hiding colorful rocks come to be?
Well, when the electricity goes off during a hurricane, there’s not a lot
“Hurricane Matthew was coming this way and I was stressed out, trying to find a way to keep calm,” said Jen Justiniano, founder of Brevard Rocks. “I sat down and painted some small rocks for a few hours and it helped take my mind off the storm.”
Justiniano, who has two children, found that rock painting was more than a way to soothe her nerves during last October’s hurricane. When the storm passed, she continued painting rocks because it made her feel peaceful and happy. She did some research and found that there are online rock painting groups throughout Canada, with accompanying Facebook sites. Since Brevard County did not have a group, Justiniano started a local movement in November 2016.
So just how does this rock movement here in Brevard work? Rocks are placed throughout the county in public venues, including parks, shopping areas such as The Avenue Viera and libraries. If you find a rock, you can place it somewhere else or replace it by painting your own rock. If the rock is meaningful to you, keep it for a while. You can place your rocks wherever you want.
“I tell people to use acrylic paint and seal their rocks,” Justiniano said. “You can decorate the rocks however you want. You don’t have to be artistic. You can write a message on your rock.”
She tells followers they can buy rocks at local craft and gardening stores.
For Castano, it's an inexpensive, creative way to bond at home as well the great outdoors. Her daughters, Liliana, 9, and Liara, 7, are enjoying the activity during the summer months before returning to Viera Charter School.
According to Justiniano, the rock painting movement has touched more than 26,000 Brevard residents, helping people come closer as a community while providing a source of fun with a little adventure mixed in. An unexpected result is the therapeutic benefits that rock painting provides.
“What makes me the happiest about Brevard Rocks is how it has helped people find a way to deal with anxiety, depression, even post traumatic stress disorder,” Justiniano said.
The Facebook following is diverse, including families with young children, teens and grandparents. Lauren Curley of Viera said it is the perfect intergenerational activity for him and his grandson, Jaxon.
“He loves rocks, I love having great photos to post. It's a win-win,” Curley said.
Justiniano described her surprise when she witnessed a male motorcyclist pick up a painted rock and smile broadly as he walked off with it.
“It was so unexpected for me to see the happiness on his face,” she said.
For her family, Justiniano said rock painting has provided a way to spend time together and meet new friends.
“It’s also a great way to get kids away from their electronics,” Justiniano added. “My son loves hiding them.”
Justiniano is excited about Brevard Rocks and its positive impact on the county.
Paint a rock. Hide a rock. Be happy.
To learn more about Brevard Rocks, check out Brevard Rocks FL on Facebook.