Finders Keepers, WeHa Artists Emporium’s artistic rock hunt, returns for its third year on Dec. 1.
By Ronni Newton
WeHa Artists Emporium’s treasure hunt returns to West Hartford on Dec. 1, 2016, with more artists than ever contributing beautifully painted rocks that will be hidden around town for eager hunters to discover.
The first WeHa Artists Emporium Finders Keepers event, held in December 2014, was an enormous success and has inspired other successful seasonal hunts. Last December the group held “Twelve Days of Finders Keepers.”
This year’s hunt, which will take place from Dec. 1-10, will be the biggest yet and has attracted 17 local artists. A total of 134 rocks have been contributed.
“We had a great response from new artists. People seemed really excited to participate this year and we have more rocks than ever,” said Julie Phillipps, one of the group’s original members.
The treasure hunt will follow the same format as past events. A number of rocks will be hidden somewhere in West Hartford each day, and photos of the rocks and clues about their location will be posted on the “Finders Keepers 2016” Facebook event page. Participants need to figure out the clue to find the treasure.
“There will be a new clue each of the 10 days, but at no particular time. Sometimes the clue will go up in the morning. Sometimes the afternoon. We like to mix things up a bit and we want people with different schedules to be able to play,” said WeHa Artists Emporium founder Stefanie Marco.
Finders Keepers is about appreciating art, but it’s also a game. Participants need to pay attention to the clues, and get to the location quickly, because once the clues are posted, the rocks are usually found within an hour, Phillipps said.
“We have some truly beautiful rocks this year. The artists really outdid themselves,” said Phillipps.
Some of the designs include Phyllis Meredith’s rocks painted like Russian stacking dolls and VW bugs. Marco created a vine rock topped with a vial of fairy dust. Phillips created “Tiny Towns” – small clay buildings that are secured to the tops of her rocks.
WeHa Artists Emporium members want to know their work is appreciated and encourage posting photos of hunting success. “We love it when the ‘Finders’ posts pics of their treasures. It helps us know which rocks have been found, and it’s a great way to say ‘Thank you’ to the artist,” said Marco.
Finders Keepers organizers ask that hunters limit themselves to just one rock per person, but even with that rule, not everyone who wants a rock might find one in the wild – but they can buy one after the hunt is over.
“We hope that everyone who goes hunting, comes back home with a rock. But if you don’t, you can come to the Holiday Pop-Up and buy one. There are going to be 18 local artists with all sorts of wonderful arts, crafts, and gifts,” said Marco.
The Holiday Pop-Up will be held Dec. 10 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Dec. 11 (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.), at 252 Park Rd. in West Hartford. It will be much larger than previous pop-ups, and the group has rented a building, and in addition to the artists will have the Iron & Grain and Faddy’s Donuts food trucks on site.
“We want our art patrons to have happy bellies,” said Marco. “It’s going to be a big, fun art party. Come on out and support local arts!”
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