Ely Stone Stash returns on Oct. 16
by Nick Wognum
Ely’s Joe Baltich is a talented artist and he’s come up with a fun event where anyone can participate.
This is the fourth year of the “Ely Stone Stash” where Baltich hides painted rocks around town and invites the public to find them.
“It’s like a fine art Easter egg hunt,” said Baltich.
The rocks will be hidden this week and the searching will start at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 when kids are off from school for the MEA weekend.
“We want people to go out and look for pretty looking rocks in two sections of town,” said Baltich.
The rocks are a “finders keepers” proposition unless you find a golden eagle or golden moose painted one. Those two rocks earn the finder a free Baltich art print.
There will be around 100 painted stones hidden this year thanks to the effort of Baltich, Connie Edwards of Indianapolis and Under the Wing graduates Abbie and Lauren Rehbein.
Under the Wing is Baltich’s year-long art teaching program.
“This year we have we our two alumni who have completed the year-long program,” said Baltich. “Connie Edwards is a summer guest at the resort.”
The event is tracked on the What’s Up Ely, MN Facebook page along with the website www.intothebrush.org.
“What people have done the last couple of times is take a picture of themselves with the stone they found and post it on Facebook,” said Baltich.
The event is completely free. “It’s a losing venture, we’ve got lots of hours into painting rocks,” said Baltich.
Just where the rocks will be hidden will be unveiled right before the start.
Baltich’s only rule is that people only find and keep one rock.
“If you find one and you want to trade it out for a different one you can do that. It’s kind of like catch and release instead of catch and keep,” said Baltich.
“But we’d rather not see one person collect 15 rocks. Let everybody have a chance.”
He said last year it was a child who found the last golden rock.
“The adults were looking all over the place and the kid just said, ‘It’s right there.’”
There will be 35 more rocks put out this year which will hopefully entice more people to come and look.
“There were six parties last year who came from out of town and stayed overnight to do the Stone Stash,” said Baltich.
The four artists have each signed their creations and Baltich said other artists may independently put their stones out to be found as well.
“I’ve seen entire families go out to look for rocks. It’s kind of a crazy thing but it’s fun,” said Baltich.
A simple event with the prize being a one of a kind artistic creation is what the Ely Stone Stash is all about.
“It runs all day and hopefully everybody finds the rocks, they’ll be in public places…we don’t bury any of them,” said Baltich.