If you’re familiar with Calvert County, you likely already know that it “rocks,” but recently, this part of Southern Maryland
has been exceptional for a new reason: painted rocks. Small rocks and stones with pictures and messages inscribed on them have
been popping up on sidewalks, benches, and just about every slightly hidden location across the county and state. But what are they
and why are they making their presence known in your areas?
These mini masterpieces are inspired by the Kindness Rocks Program, a group that promotes the practiceof random acts of
kindness by leaving pictures and words on rocks, and then hiding them for others to find. Joy-spreaders throughout
the country have followed suit and created their own groups to encourage rock painting and finding.
The program’s effects have extended here to Calvert County, where Tanya Dodson created the Calvert Rocks rock painting group.
Christy Cochran Bredahl of Owings joined after she was inspired to start rock painting herself, and has worked with Dodson to
make the group grow.
But why painted rocks, and why has the movement become so popular?
“I think that people paint the rocks for fun and a creative outlet, then they get excited once they hide them to know that they may
bring a smile to someone’s day,” said Bredahl.
She also believes that the kindness rocks instill a sense of community among the residents of Calvert County.
“It absolutely brings the community together,” Bredahl said. “Lots of people are communicating in a positive way, which is huge!
Also, people are checking out areas of their community to hide and find rocks that they may not have ever explored before!”
Although a person can keep a rock if it brings them happiness, they can also hide it somewhere else for another person to find.
And if you’re inspired to make your own rock painting, don’t be afraidto let your creativity shine, Bredahl said.
“All rocks are beautiful and bring kindness—you don’t have to be an accomplished artist to make someone smile. The point of the
initiative is to spread kindness to strangers; sort of paying it forward.” If you do find a rock, turn it over and you’ll likely find the
name of the group that the person whocreated it belongs to. Bredahl suggests taking a picture of the rock and then posting it to the
group’s Facebook page so that the artist can see that you found it.
Be a Part of the Kindness!
If you’d like to hide the rock, skip placing it in yards, as doing so could hurt someone who is cutting grass. Additionally, forgo hiding
them in stores to avoid confusion.
And if you want to paint your own natural work of art, you can increase your chances of creative perfection by following these tips:
• Find flat, smooth rocks that are three- to five-inches wide; they typically work best.
• Clean and spray the rocks with non-toxic spray or paint to create a seal that will help the art last longer.
• Use oil-based paint pens to create your work.
• Write the name of the group in which you belong on the back.
If you’re not part of a rock group and would like to be, search Facebook to find some in
your area, or join Calvert Rocks.
“We really try to keep the kindness aspect at the top of the group, and we are really lucky to have
an amazing group of people involved in Calvert Rocks,” said Bredahl.
For more information on rock painting, find the Calvert Rocks group on Facebook, or visit
by Heather Vecchioni | Contributing Writer