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ArtSplash celebrates 10 years with special rock hunt

CARLSBAD — Decorative rocks are sprouting up all over Carlsbad reminding folks the ArtSplash Chalk Art and Entertainment Festival is on its way. In fact, it has reached a decade milestone.

The Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 event is expected to attract close to 30,000 visitors — impressive considering the first event drew in 1,500 people 10 years ago.

Ron Juncal, co-founder of the weekend event ArtSplash, also being fondly called “TENtastic” this year, is championing a special anniversary promotion in which people are finding artistic rocks when they least expect it while learning they could be holding a winning rock.

Ron Juncal, co-founder of ArtSplash, plants decorative rocks around Carlsbad in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Courtesy photo

Those who find a winner will have a message embedded on the bottom and a note to bring the rock to ArtSplash.

These rocks are a gift to the community — people can take them home or to ArtSplash if they find a winner.

“For the last several weeks, I have been ‘seeding’ colorful rocks with a ‘10’ on them out in the city.

Dozens of volunteers from professional artists to children have been helping me to create these unique little pieces of art,” said Juncal, a Carlsbad fine artist and owner of Studio 2.

The rocks have the number “10” on them in celebration of ArtSplash’s anniversary. The number is conveyed in various ways such as language and numerals, including Roman numbers.

For Juncal, it’s embedding a bit of mystery for the finder of a rock and what it all means.

“I have put out about 1,000 rocks so far and will continue for another week or so,” he said. The plan is to place up to 2,000.

According to Juncal, people can’t miss these gems. Ranging from 2 to 8 inches, some finders are calling them collector items and they’re right.

Juncal said that Carlsbad artist Bryan Snyder drew his well-known character “Doodle” on one.

Soon, Juncal added, he will be placing 75 more special rocks.

“These are the ones I liked best of all the rocks we have done,” he said, adding that these will be the winning rocks and very decorative.

Winners will receive Juncal’s signed artistic prints. The grand prize, however, is still in the works.

Juncal hinted that the rocks are hidden around the Village, Carlsbad beach locales and other places.

Juncal has recruited many people for the TENtastic rock project, including graphic designer and Carlsbad resident Killarney Carnohan. In her spare time, Carnohan enjoys doing a variety of art projects so the rock promotion was a perfect fit.

When Juncal mentioned the idea, Carnohan thought it was a great one.

“I couldn’t wait to get started marking stones and rocks to set out for people to find,” she said.

Carnohan said several have been created so far and she has more in the pipeline.

Most of all, Carnohan wants the people to have a special connection to the fun of ArtSplash this year because of these rocks and bring them to the festival.

Juncal pointed out that everyone taking part in the rock project has had a great time creating their little works of art.

There have even been rock painting parties hosted by different volunteers.

“The way we look at it we are creating art, to share freely with the community in this little ‘Mystery Rock Hunt,’” said Juncal, adding that monies raised from the event go back to fund school grants.

“It is a lifecycle of art that is good for everyone,” he said.