Person of the Week
Creative an Active Community—Through Rocks
Clinton nurse Ivette Medina is taking healthcare talents outside the hospital through a rock-painting initiative aimed at getting people outside and engaged in the community. (Photo courtesy of Ivette Medina )
“There was a big sense of fear and rightfully so, because we didn’t know a lot when it started,” Ivette Medina recalls about the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the shoreline area. Since that time, Ivette was able to find a creative outlet that inspires others with an unlikely source: rocks.
If you’ve taken a trip outside during the last nine months, you may have stumbled upon a rock painted with a positive message or special design. If so, you might have Ivette to thank for the surprise.
Ivette has been hiding the decorated rocks outside in different locations all around town, and then posting clues as to where they are so that people can find them. Even as a major storm dumped 10 inches of snow in Clinton, Ivette laughed about how she was out hiding a rock the night before.
Ivette started a Facebook page called Shoreline Art Rocks where people can follow along the adventure and see the different locations the rocks are placed.
“It’s a way for people to get out and discover the rocks but more importantly a way to get out and explore their town,” says Ivette.
The idea started when Ivette went for a hike in New Hampshire and when she got to the top of the mountain, she saw a rock with a positive message painted on it. Though she had no real prior art experience, Ivette says she decided she wanted to copy the idea in Clinton.
“I thought it would be a nice thing to put them out in the community,” Ivette says.
Ivette says she finds inspiration for her designs from a mix of images she finds online or things she sees in nature.
“It’s fun for me. It’s a creative outlet,” Ivette says.
In the beginning, Ivette would hide the rocks, then go back a few days later to check if they were still there. Eventually she came up with the idea for the Facebook page where people can share the different rocks they’ve found.
As more people have caught on with the project, Ivette has branched out to hiding rocks in Madison and Guilford, too.
“I never thought people would connect so much with rocks,” Ivette jokes. “I really appreciate all the support that people have been giving me.”
In particular, Ivette appreciates the pictures of children of holding up the rocks they’ve found.
Ivette says her favorite part of the project is when people tell her that the project has inspired them to get outside and be active or just to take in a part of town that may have driven by a thousand times but never stopped to explore.
Some people leave messages of using the hunt for the rocks as a way to hit weight loss targets by getting out and active. Other people have told Ivette the hunt is a way to get over feeling down in the dumps.
“It’s nice to see positive stuff out there in a world that doesn’t always feel like it,” says Ivette. “I think my favorite part is getting out in the community and discovering all Connecticut has. I think that gives me the best or most enjoyment.”
For work, Ivette has spent the last 17 years as a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. Currently she works on the maternity and newborn ward.
Nursing was actually Ivette’s third degree; she previously received degrees in education and biology.
“I volunteered at a women’s clinic and I fell in love with nursing,” Ivette remembers.
Ivette says in her current role she enjoys being able to help others when they are at their most vulnerable, as well as see them through some of the most important firsts in their life. The pandemic, of course, complicates everything.
“You try really hard to protect the patients, so everything I do is outdoors,” Ivette says.
In her spare time, Ivette can be found trying to keep active whether it be running, hiking, or doing hot yoga. During the pandemic has also added painting to her repertoire. Ivette is originally from Puerto Rico and has lived in Clinton for about eight years now.
“I was always attracted to the water. I was living in Cheshire prior to living in Clinton and I love the water so I was looking at the shoreline,” Ivette says.
Since living in Clinton, the quaintness of the town has grown on her. “I like that it’s a small community. You can be in the woods one day and feel like you’re in New Hampshire or Vermont and then be at the beach the next day and feel like you’re in the Cape.”