Some of the best things to do in Edmonton began organically. They didn’t come from planners in boardrooms, but by people who simply thought, “Wow, this would be a cool thing to do.” Think of Accidental Beach to the End of the World outlook, which later became Keillor Point.
And, the coolest art project of 2021 wasn’t hatched by a curator or some sort of arts committee. It began with a rock, near the water of Cumberland Lake in Edmonton. It is one of those planned subdivision lakes surrounded by backyards, which, on a spring afternoon is punctuated by the shrill whistles of red-winged blackbirds and the honking of ducks. Walk around the pond, and you’ll find the head of the snake. It’s a rock, painted green, with snake’s eyes. Another painted rock follows. And then another. In fact, there are hundreds of painted rocks.
Basically, the rock snake is a collection of painted rocks, all placed in a line along the shore. Community members paint the rocks as they wish and add them to the chain. In fact, you can paint a rock and add to the chain. It’s spontaneous art — for any park visitor to enjoy.
There’s a rock that commemorates the #BLM movement. There are rocks with messages of hope for health-care workers. There are cartoon characters and funny-faced animals. Someone even painted a rock red with a Starfleet insignia — and we all know what happens to the red-shirts on Star Trek. There’s a Day of the Dead rock, and rocks made to look like Easter pysanky.
This snake is a charmer, all right.