Loleeta Pollen Hofley started painting rocks and hiding them around 100 Mile House in a bid to brighten someone’s day.
The 23-year-old artist said she wanted to do something to encourage and inspire people following the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent wildfires burning across the region. Hofley said she was inspired by her friend Tianna King, who has been painting rocks and leaving them around her town of Edson, Alta.
“I thought it was a beautiful opportunity to bring some light into 100 Mile. I’m trying to make people happy in this time of devastation,” said Hofley, who has a 10-month-old son named Marshal. “I’m excited for everyone in the community to get together and for everyone to just feel they have something to do. It will bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people.”
Last week, Hofley was working on rocks with colourful designs that include watermelons and flowers on one side and an inspirational saying like “be kind” on the other. She has since placed them around 100 Mile House for people to find.
She noted King started a Facebook page for her rocks, encouraging other artists to take part. Hofley has also started a page, saying it’s a great way for artists to engage with their community. People who find her rocks should feel free to move them and place them in a new location for the next person to find, making the activity something of a scavenger hunt, she said.
As of Monday, Hofley has had 88 people join her 100 mile rocks group on Facebook and is hopeful they’ll all start painting their own rocks and spreading them around town. Hofley said she’s even considering putting on a rock painting event at Centennial Park but is waiting for the fire situation to stabilize before making any concrete plans.
“Right now we’re just sticking to the basics. We’re just going to grow it first,” Hofley said.
While she grew up all over B.C., Hofley said she always loved visiting the South Cariboo as a child. She moved to 100 Mile House four years ago to look after her grandmother, Judy Lauzon. She usually sells her art through Fairy Craft Art on Facebook. She dabbles in acrylic, oil, pastels and watercolours and said she’s been painting since she was three.
“I just like to get into my heart and bring it onto a piece of paper. When nobody is around you can just be yourself as an artist.”