If you’ve found yourself walking around the Parkside Neighborhood recently, you may have noticed small, whimsically painted stones hidden in the boughs of trees or hanging out next to recently planted spring flowers. The tiny works of art are the brainchild of area resident Haley Wars, who spoke with me for this week’s Art on the Air.
She explained how the idea got started.
"My partner and I decided that we couldn’t just stay cooped up in the house everyday," Wars told me during our phone conversation. "We were like okay, we’re going to go for a walk, make a little cocktail, and we’re going to have a happy hour walk in the neighborhood everyday. We started walking and talking and the idea just started blossoming."
Parkside is so named because it includes Daffin Park, but Wars has concentrated on the residential portion of the neighborhood, which runs from Washington Avenue to 52nd Street north to south, and Bee Road to Waters Avenue east to west. Remarkably, she’s already placed fifty pieces around the small neighborhood, but some of them have been scooped up by admirers.
"At the beginning I told everybody if they found one that really resonated with them if they just had to have it, just take it home," Wars said. "You know this is supposed to bring joy to other people as well. But if they didn’t really care for it so much maybe you just want to leave it where it is or re-hide it again for someone else."
If you’re worried that it’s too late to see the stones, don’t be: Wars has big plans for the project, so there should still be plenty to see for would-be Parkside explorers.
"I’m trying to get to at least a hundred before this really ends," she said. "But if I can get further than that that would be really great too."
Additionally, Wars has inspired a group of neighborhood kids known locally as "The B Team" to paint rocks of their own, adding to the possibility of discovery. During a recent walk with my wife and son, we managed to spot five of the miniature works, including one adorned with an adorable little bat, and another with a few flowers plus the words "Love Grows." According to the artist, these moments of joy like the ones we experienced are what the project is all about.
"That’s what I really hoping for, get people outside, with their families." Wars indicated, "Not just sitting in the house watching TV or playing video games. Anything I can do to help get people outside and spending quality time together."
Like many of the creative-types I know, Wars probably wouldn’t have the time to do such a project if it weren’t for the shelter-in-place order. She’s hoping that the positive side of the health crisis will carry over once we get back to work and to a more "normal" way of doing things.
"I definitely feel like it has helped me realize what is important in life and the kind of priorities that maybe didn’t seem so important before are even more important now." Wars noted, "So hopefully that’s just going to continue to carry through."
Moreover, it’s made her realize that everyone has an opportunity to make a positive impact on their community, even if they don’t realize it.
"Do something kind for your neighbors and your friends," Wars said. "Even the small stuff matters, you know?"
Listen to my entire conversation with Haley Wars embedded here. Next week I’ll be speaking with Samita Wolfe of Film Biz Recycling about the history of her business, and how the community stepped up to save it.
Tune in to "Art on the Air" every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on WRUU 107.5 FM in Savannah, and streaming worldwide at www.wruu.org.
Art off the Air is a digital-only column that is posted every week on dosavannah.com as a companion piece to the WRUU 107.5 FM show "Art on the Air."
Rob Hessler is an artist, host of the radio show Art on the Air on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah, and Executive Director of Bigger Pie, a Savannah-based arts advocacy organization.