PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
If you’ve been watching your step while walking around base recently you might have noticed something unusual. Popping up all over Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, are tiny works of art hidden in plain sight. Found near the bowling alley, the library and even outside the 21st Space Wing headquarters building, these rocks aren’t the mysterious works of London based graffiti artist Banksy, but a small and growing Facebook group called PAFB rocks!
The rocks are painted by members of the Peterson community including families.
“It’s something that we can do with the whole family, we have an assembly line system at my house painting these rocks,” said Andrea Collis, the founder of the PAFB rocks! Facebook page.
“It’s something that engages the kids creativity while painting, then we get to go to a park and place our rocks, then hunt for some new ones that may be hidden,” said Collis.
The designs can be as different and intricate as the painter’s skill allows or they can just be inspirational messages for whoever finds them.
“Rocks painted like food seem to be big for some reason, like bananas, and apples, but one child even painted a rock to look like a T-bone steak,” Collis mentioned.
“Sometimes we’ll try to have a theme for the week, last week was shark week on TV, so we decided to have shark week themed rock paintings,” Collis said.
The rocks are painted using standard craft store supplies like paint markers or acrylic paint, then sealed with a clear coat like Mod Podge.
Once all the paint is dry comes the fun part says Collis. Usually members of PAFB rocks! will take a photo of their creations and post the general location of the rocks. For example they might post a photo of the rock sitting on the bench and give a hint to the location of Capt. David Lyons Memorial Park on Peterson AFB.
“People will see the post on the page and sometimes run out to try and find the rock if they really like the design,” Collis said, “I’ve seen rocks picked up after only five minutes of being hidden.”
The idea isn’t to hide the rocks so well they can’t be found, but more like a children’s Easter egg hunt in a location that can be easily seen if you know where to look.
In addition to posting photos of rocks and hiding places, the group can also provide painting tips and have even held a meet up where group members trade rocks and have a good time with their families in a park.
The group is open to anyone, including those outside the Team Pete community. The PAFB rocks! page has members from all over the U.S. As service members move on to other assignments in different locations they bring their rocks with them.
They’ve even had their rocks show up as far away as California.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, the group is always looking for new members to paint and hide rocks. They can be found on Facebook by searching for PAFB rocks! Get out there and get painting!