CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- It's a garden party of a different sort. At the Hermanson household in Midlothian, thumbs aren't just green.
These seedlings require no water and no soil, but the plantings come nourished with love
These friends are members of a growing group called RVA Rocks, a colorful movement of happiness.
Artists like Kristen Corsen paint stones with messages of hope and joy.
“It doesn’t take a lot of artistic ability just a big heart of kindness," Corson said. “It's like sending out that little hug out into the universe."
Their rounded canvases aren't kept to admire. Members like Jamie Davis give them all away; not to family or friends, but strangers.
"I know it sounds ridiculous, but I can confidently say thousands," Davis said. “I think we need kindness more than anything right now and this is our little way of doing our part.”
Jennifer Hermanson is the co-founder of RVA Rocks. The mother of two says the Facebook-based group has mushroomed to more than 30,000 members.
“It took off really quick. Right away," Hermanson said. “It started about 3 and a half years ago.”
“To be out and find something that is random is just exciting I guess," Davis said. “I would tend to agree with artists who say they get so much more out of this than the person who ends up with this rock.”
When the paint dries members scatter to different locations across Richmond for a stealth mission.
On this day the artists place their rocks along the trails at Midlothian Mines in Chesterfield.
“I just found an RVA Rocks while hiding Rocks," Corson said. “I think it is because it is like planting seeds of kindness and that it is going to grow. We’re literally planting rocks. Not hiding planting. Planting seeds of kindness.”
Watching unsuspecting hikers find the mini-masterpieces is priceless.
“Sometimes that is the instant," says Kristen. "You don’t get that but that is cool.”
The environment is a concern so each painted rock is covered with a sealant to prevent the colors from seeping into the ground or nearby waterways. Each artist pours time and talent into their creations.
Knowing their work may boost the spirits of a stranger is worth the investment. The artists of RVA Rocks planting and hiding tenderness in plain sight.
“You don’t know if you’ll ever meet or see them," Davis said. "But it is a light in this world that we need right now.”
The group asks painters to remember that if do paint a rock remember not to place it in stores, Federal property, or on private property without permission.
If you would like to find out more about RVA Rocks, check out the Facebook page.
If you know someone I should feature in my "I Have a Story" segment email me at gmcquade@WTVR.com