Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Difference a Year Makes: Rock on Oil City

I love "Rock On Oil City" because it captured the imagination of so many people. Watching people at "Rock on" events has been great fun. If someone tried putting canvas on a table and asked people to paint, they would be intimidated. But ask people to paint rocks, and they are not afraid.
The idea sprung up from a blog Susan Williams, Venango Chamber of Commerce, read about a mom who got her kids to paint rocks and leave them places for people to find. The family had watched a movie that the mom feared would inspire the children to do random graffiti. So, she channeled their creativity.
The first "Rock On Oil City" event was during the Indy Fest on Seneca Street. Then at the 2011 Oil Heritage Festival we set up a booth in Justus Park, brought paints, brought rocks and expected to stay a few hours. Six hours later, young and old were still coming and painting rocks. Many started going down to the river to gather more rocks - bigger rocks - to paint.
Other local artists and enthusiasts coordinated Rock On events at schools, small events and at the local nursing home. Individuals started painting rocks and sprinkling them around town. Area natives who moved away, painted rocks and sent them home to land somewhere in their old home town.
We have no idea how many people are now painting rocks and sprinkling them around to bring smiles to others. I love it because it's such a simple thing. Leave something behind to make someone happy. I love it because it is something anyone can do, anytime. I love it because it fits well with the Art Revitalization theme "Art Inside". It gives people a chance to open up to creativity and it adds a note of kindness without expectation or external reward.
So - Pick up a brush - paint a happy rock - place it out there for someone to find - Rock On Oil City!!! Visit us at Justus Park during Oil Heritage Festival 2012.

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