The WeHa Artists Emporium is holding another ‘Finders Keepers’ event in West Hartford, but this time it’s a kids-only activity.
By Ronni Newton
Children who enjoyed hunting for hidden artistic treasures in the WeHa Artists Emporium’s “Finders Keepers” event last December or the “Bunnies & Blooms” event in April will have another treasure hunt opportunity on Aug. 23 – but this time they also get to create the treasures.
The WeHa Artists Emporium’s first Finders Keepers event was an astounding success in engaging the community and bringing awareness to the community of local artists who painted rocks and hid them around town for a treasure hunt during the month of December 2014. It was followed up with the also-successful hunt for painted bunnies and flowers that took place on April 12.
“Nobody expected when we did the first Finders Keepers that it was going to take off like it did,” said artist Julie Phillipps. “An added bonus was people doing the hunt as families.”
Although children were active and welcome participants in the hunt, and many of the rocks were hidden so that the timing worked for kids to find them after school, the artists made the decision to accept only rocks painted by professionals.
“That was a tough call,” WeHa Artists Emporium founder Stefanie Marco said in a news release. “We always want to include everyone in creativity, but the group was founded to support professional artists.”
Group member Phyllis Meredith’s daughter really wanted to paint rocks, however, and so did other children, so Meredith suggested a kids-only Finders Keepers.
Marco and Phillipps loved the idea, and the board planned the activity for the end of the summer.
Phillipps said they looked around for a venue where a lot of rocks could be hidden all at one site, and finally decided on Westmoor Park.
Kids Finders Keepers is open to all children ages 18 and under – who will be able to donate as well as engage in the treasure hunt. Rock donations are requested between Aug. 13-16 (see the group’s Facebook event page for details about drop off when it gets closer to the date), and the Finders Keepers event itself will be held on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 1 p.m., at Westmoor Park.
There is no restriction on the size or quality of the painted rocks, but Phillipps said they have posted tutorials on the event page to inspire and give tips. “There’s not going to be quality control,” she said, but rocks that are several inches in diameter typically work best.
Because of the expected disparity in age and ability – both of painters and hunters – there will be a special area for the youngest finders, those ages 4 and under, Phillipps said. “They’re more excited about just finding something,” she said. That area will also contain the rocks painted by the younger kids, and they will be fairly easy to locate.
The rest of the park is fair game for the other kids, who are expected to range up to high school age.
Phillipps said there may be additional rules imposed regarding how many rocks can be kept, but that will depend on how many are donated, she said. Details will be posted on Facebook.
One absolute rule is that there are no dogs allowed – a rule set by Westmoor Park because of the farm animals on site.
The event is completely free, but children must donate at least one rock in order to participate.
“Then all they have to do is show up and hunt for rocks,” said Marco. “It’s going to be a blast!”
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