Kids are out of school for the summer, and there’s no better time to organize a community art project. There’s a growing trend in several Utah towns that’s giving children a fun, creative outlet while also bringing smiles to all who see it. They’re called rock snakes, and they’re growing longer by the day!
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In Riverton, Ernie the rock snake stretches for more than 65 feet along the intersection of Cervina and Chamonix Way. Tooele has one called Romeo at the Tooele Market Place, and the one in Draper, Rockwell is comprised of almost 600 colorful rocks along the Porter Rockwell Trail.
Rock snakes are made from hand-painted rocks. A sign at the snake’s head encourages any passerby to paint a rock of their own to add to the end of the snake. These rock snakes may start off small, but the joy they bring is so contagious they’re becoming a big attraction around the state.
Ernie the snake was started anonymously, and it continues to gain traction thanks to a community Facebook page. Riverton resident Jamie Rentmeister says it’s a great way to keep kids entertained during the hot summer months.
“To me it’s just something fun to get the kids out, something to do during the summer and paint a rock and add it to the fun snake,” she said.
Six-year-old Liberty Sellers is the person who started Draper’s snake, Rockwell.
“Liberty loves hiding treasures for people to find,” explained her mother, Kelsee Sellers. “She begged to make a rock snake. When the project reached 100 rocks, she was over the moon. And then 200… and 300! Every milestone she has been so excited! Rockwell was only up for 2.5 weeks when it had reached 500 rocks.”
Unfortunately, Liberty’s first choice for a location for her rock snake didn’t work out. He was originally lined up along the Porter Rockwell Trail, but the city put the kibosh on the art installation a few weeks after it arrived. Draper officials said if they allowed Rockwell to stay, they’d have to allow everything anyone wanted to leave there.
While sad to remove the rock snake, Liberty and her family were undeterred! Four generations of the Sellers family got together one day to move each and every rock about 30 feet off the public trail, onto an abandoned railroad track. They’ve even gone the extra mile by clearing the debris and trash from the unused tracks to beautify the area.
In spite of the setback, Rockwell continues to grow! Locals are going out of their way to seek him out and add to the project.
Other families have since joined the Sellers to help clean up the tracks. Everyone who sees the snakes can’t help but smile, especially knowing that the snakes are a symbol of unity in their community.
“It’s just a joyful project to see,” said Kelsee. “It brightens people’s days.”
For the children who paint the rocks, adorning them with everything from SpongeBob characters to movie quotes, it’s all about expressing themselves and having fun.
“We have added rocks; they are fun little rocks!” said Liberty. “This helps kids not be bored in the summer. Rockwell the Snake makes my heart happy!”
This is one of the cutest community projects we’ve seen. It’s so accessible and simple, too. With a little luck, next summer rock snakes will be slithering all over the world, bringing smiles to all who see them!
You can find the source of this article’s featured image here.
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