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Rockin' the Coulee project reflects national rock art trend


Children at Coulee Day Care in Coulee Dam have fun while painting rocks on Tuesday, August 1. Clockwise from left are Ambrose Marris, Tammy Armstrong, Samuel Clark, Emily Sanders, Dakota Hunt, and Roman Pleasants. - Jacob Wagner photos

The latest craze in the coulee is painting rocks and placing them around the community.

Two Facebook group pages titled "Rockin' the Coulee" and "Grand Coulee Rocks" advocate for people to paint rocks of all shapes and sizes, in whatever way they want, and to place them around the community. If you find a painted rock you can hide it again or take a picture to share on the Facebook page. And people are encouraged to paint rocks of their own.

The craze is taking place nationwide, if not worldwide, and there are Facebook groups for rock painting in Coulee City, Soap Lake-Ephrata, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, and many more places.

People seem to prefer acrylic paints for their rocks, although other mediums are said to work as well, including Sharpies and gel pens. After painting, it's recommended to coat them with a clear acrylic spray.

"I've been collecting rocks from all the different lakes around our area and am going to have my class paint them and hide them with their families as an Open House welcoming activity," said Shelly Stine, an Electric City resident and former LRHS teacher who now teaches special education in Ephrata. "So far I have (rocks from) Lake Roosevelt, Banks Lake, Owhi Lake, Swan Lake, Omak Lake, Buffalo Lake, and Soap Lake."

Rocks are being painted by children and adults alike, the activity appealing to anyone with an artistic bone in their body. Clarissa Cawston, of Coulee Kids Daycare, said children there have enjoyed painting rocks.

And Bill Kemble handed one to a man in line at Safeway, who said they paint them in Oakland, California, where Kemble's creation may end up.

Claudia Doyle, a rock painting enthusiast who has only two weeks into the hobby, painted close to 20 rocks, is shown here hiding one of her creations somewhere in Grand Coulee.

"I think people love the kindness of it," said Glo Carroll of Coulee Dam. "They like being creative and it's like offering a bit of friendship with the rock."

"I think painting and decorating rocks is therapeutic," said Jennifer Mcquown Adams, a former Grand Coulee resident and rock painting enthusiast. "The best part is leaving it for someone to find and knowing that you put a smile on their faces. It's also cool to see where it ends up."

People report painted rocks from here ending up in Lake Stevens, Montana, and more, which makes reporting finds on the Facebook pages all the more interesting to see how far the rocks travel.

The Grant County Fair in Moses Lake is having a Rock Art competition this year, with the deadline to sign up being Aug. 6 for the fair that takes place from August 15-19. For more info call the fair office at (509) 765-3581.

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