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‘Finders Keepers’ Rock Hunt to Partner with Local Businesses on Small Business Saturday

Group of rocks by various local artists. Courtesy photo

The WeHa Artists Emporium will hold the fifth annual ‘Finders Keepers’ rock hunt in West Hartford on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Pancake Stack by Denise Balcanoff. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

Small Business Saturday in West Hartford will kick off with an event that showcases small businesses but doesn’t even require participants to spend any money, as the community is invited to join in the WeHa Artists Emporium annual rock hunt, a “finders keepers” scavenger hunt to be held at a yet-to-be disclosed location in town.

More than 100 rocks will be hidden, all painted by local artists.

Mandala rocks by Marcia Denmead. Courtesy photo

New this year, the sixth anniversary edition of the hunt, is that many of the artistically-painted rocks are sponsored by local businesses, in designs that are special themes associated with those businesses.

“A few years ago my friend Michelle DuBois, owner of Max & Lily’s Closet, suggested the idea,” said Stefanie Marco Lantz, one of the founders of the WeHa Artists Emporium. “It took us a few years to iron out how we were going to do this – but we thought it was a fantastic idea and great way to spotlight local businesses that were also art supporters.”

Marco Lantz said the business sponsors were recruited through requests on social media, and she also contacted friends who are local business owners. 

The Sally & Bob’s rock is a stack of pancakes created by Denise Balanoff, and Julie Phillipps, also a WeHa Artists Emporium founder, painted a crane flying by bamboo on Black Bamboo’s rock.

“We wanted artists to have artistic liberties but they also made a point of connecting their designs to the specific businesses,” Marco Lantz said.

“It’s been really fun to see what they come up with- – such a fantastic way for local businesses to support the WeHa Artists Emporium’s upcoming events and for us to support local businesses in return.”

Stefanie Marco paints a rock. Courtesy photo

“Having a partnership with small businesses works well for us,” Phillipps said in a release announcing this year’s hunt. “Being an artist is like being the CEO of your own small business,” and scheduling the hunt on Small Business Saturday is not a coincidence but rather a strategic move to jumpstart activity on a day that is dedicated to support of independent local businesses.

The WeHa Artists Emporium, which was founded in 2014, considers a key part of its mission to be supporting artists, and the annual finders keepers event spreads awareness throughout the community and promote the work of the artists who donated rocks.

“We want to send art lovers to your art shows and your web pages. We want to shower you with attention and help you promote your business,” Marco Lantz said.

The Finders Keepers event will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 30 with the reveal of the location. Those who want to participate are encouraged to sign up on the Finders Keepers 2019 Facebook event page, and await notification of the location.

The local artists who have contributed to Finders Keepers 2019 are: Stefanie Marco Lantz, Julie Phillipps, Sarah Loiselle, Denise Balcanoff, Bonnie MacKenzie, Phyllis Meredith, Darlene Borre, Kerri Michaud-Bagley, Jennifer Louis, Ronit Shoham, Violet Davenport, Angela Shenk, Janet Valencis, Ellen Sayers, Janet O’Connor, Brook Armstrong, Annie Mae, and Marcia Denmead.

Finders Keepers is also a great lead-in to build excitement among art supporters for the fifth annual WeHa Artists Emporium Holiday Art Market on Dec. 7 and 8 at Watkinson School. The juried event will include a variety of artwork and other gift items created by 30 local artists.

Holiday Art Market at Watkinson School, 2018. Courtesy photo

The Holiday Art Market will be open Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. A food truck will be on site.

Follow the WeHa Artists Emporium on Facebook for the most-up-to date information about the group’s events.

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