WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- Many gardeners get rid of the rocks, but Saluda River Academy for the Arts has found a way to showcase them.
The Lexington Two arts magnet school this year created a rock garden, in an array of bright colors and designs, with hand-painted rocks created by every Saluda River Academy student.
“We wanted to bring joy to others and show our artistic abilities,” said Principal Jim LeBlanc.
The rocks are displayed in a specially designed bed at the front of the school. The garden will grow in the years ahead as each new student to join the Saluda River Academy family is invited to add to it.
The designs reflect who the students are and what they love, LeBlanc said, with some inspiration from the reading of Diane Alber’s Scribble Stones, about a rock that brings kindness to people.
There are solid-colored rocks and ones with dots or stripes. There are animals and faces. Some include student names. Art teacher Kara Luke worked with all students to help them get their rocks painted.
The idea for a rock garden has been tossed around for a couple of years, LeBlanc said, and this year’s School Improvement Council decided to make it a beautification project. Community partners with Airport Family Dentistry and the Good News Club pitched in to help build the garden.
The rock garden at the school, which is tucked into a West Columbia neighborhood, has created a lot of buzz in the surrounding area for its color and beauty.
“This ongoing project allows students to make their mark on the school for all to see,” LeBlanc said. “I think that this garden is about commUNITY, artistic abilities, representing our students, and a beautiful view for all.”