New Batavia painted rock garden seen as a ‘selfie station’ designed to spread kindness

U.S. NEWS


A new garden featuring rocks painted by the community and seen as a way to “spread kindness” will be installed later this year near the iconic Peace Bridge along the Fox River in Batavia.

The Batavia Park District Board of Commissioners recently authorized the installation of an 8-foot by 12-foot garden space on the Batavia South Riverwalk Plaza by the Peace Bridge for the new painted rock garden.

In a press release, Batavia Parks Foundation President Britta McKenna said the “new painted rock garden amplifies efforts of the nearby Peace Bridge by reimagining an existing garden bed. Additionally, the use of rocks in the garden is a hat tip to Batavia’s past identity as Rock City when the city was a key limestone quarry hub for the region.”

She said the design of the rock garden will be an evolving one.

“Part of the area will be dedicated to be a permanent space. We’ll be adhering the rocks to the limestone and those will look like windmill blades inspired by our new flag design which has a windmill on it and a river running under the bottom of it,” McKenna said. “We’re collaborating with Water Street Studios as well as the park district to have sustainable materials and a border for the dry bed river that will run through the bottom where we will have loose rocks placed there that the community painted.”

Those rocks, McKenna said, “can be admired, picked up if they like them or want to share” as well as restocked by local groups that can paint rocks and add them to the display, making it a dynamic rather than a static feature.

McKenna on Tuesday said the foundation is issuing a call for rock painters to help with the garden project.

“There is a national movement called ‘kindness rocks’ and during COVID a lot of people painted rocks and put them around everywhere,” she said. “A lot of this got traction over COVID and a couple of years ago a friend texted me about this and I thought it was a great idea but we had just taken on the Peace Bridge project.

“This is a ripple effect – a peace ripple and a selfie station that just kind of adds to Batavia’s brand,” she said of the new painted rock garden.

The garden, she said, will become a project for everyone.

“We want the whole community to come and participate by painting rocks,” she said.

Painted rocks like these, painted last year during Batavia's Peace Day event, will be placed in a new garden to be installed later this year near the Peace Bridge in Batavia. Officials are asking the community to get involved in painting rocks for the new garden.- Original Credit:
Painted rocks like these, painted last year during Batavia’s Peace Day event, will be placed in a new garden to be installed later this year near the Peace Bridge in Batavia. Officials are asking the community to get involved in painting rocks for the new garden. (Courtesy of Batavia Parks Foundation)

A groundbreaking for the installation of the painted rock garden will take place during the Pitch in the Parks event on May 18.

“We will create this garden in different phases and hopefully complete it this year,” she said. “For now, we are inviting people to start painting rocks.”

The first pop-up rock-painting event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the music store Kiss the Sky, at 180 W. First St. in Batavia.

Community groups can also pick up painting kits at the Batavia Civic Center, 327 W. Wilson St., and keep them for a week so they can hold a rock-painting session, McKenna said.

Other opportunities for rock painting will be held throughout the spring and summer at the local farmers market, city concerts and other events, officials said.

The garden will be given a formal name later this year.

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.



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