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Murfreesboro ROCKS! Art Initiative Encourages Rock Painting, Drop-Off

Though rock collecting is a hobby that banks on the already-present beauty of nature, Lascassas resident Monica Ashbaugh is giving ’Boro stones an added layer of beauty.

“Most people don’t think of themselves as ‘artists,’ but I’m a firm believer that everyone has a little artist in them!” Ashbaugh tells the Pulse. And through her free art movement, “Murfreesboro ROCKS!” the local artist has created a treasure hunt that leaves painted, collectible rocks all over the county.

Monica described Murfreesboro ROCKS! as “little like art plus a touch of geo-caching,” with people either finding the rocks by chance or by the help of hints provided via the Murfreesboro ROCKS! Facebook group.

The idea came to her after seeing it implemented by a Facebook friend from the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by the aesthetic of the photos and the novelty of the idea, she took the Tacoma ROCKS! invite to implement the idea in other communities and brought it to the city. It’s “art for art’s sake,” according to Ashbaugh, that wants to nurture Murfreesboro’s interest in crafts and creativity. Through the artist sharing a photo of their painted rock on social media, the maker and finder can engage each other and create “tiny art and big community.”

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All types of artists—from those new to art to professional artists—are welcome to the activity. Some artists have made multiple rock drops already.

“Art is for everyone, Ashbaugh shares. “It transcends the aspects of society that tries to divide humanity. Art unites! What is wonderful about art is that it connects all types of people together in a shared experience.”

People can make rocks of all varieties, “Abstracts, dot mosaics, zentangle, tiny masterpieces, kid-friendly pieces—it’s all good. Most folks use paint pens or craft paints.”

So far, rocks have been placed near the downtown Square, at The Avenue shopping center, at Old Fort Park, along the Greenway and other places of interest in the community. As the success of the Nashville art drop movement has shown that similar endeavors are popular enough to sustain, the social art project will keep going as the interest from painters and collectors increases.

The Boro Art Crawl has offered Murfreesboro ROCKS! a space at the next art crawl, which will be Oct. 14, so the group can help others participate in some recreational rock-making.

For further information about the initiative, find Murfreesboro ROCKS on Facebook.

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About the Author

I'm a contributing writer for the Murfreesboro Pulse. I'm also a filmmaker and a founding member of the MTSU Film Guild. My interests include screenwriting, producing, coffee, beer and philosophy. I'm a huge fan of films, particularly horror, action, science fiction and crime.

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