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Nashville woman paints rocks and delivers them as an act of kindness for others

A 'rock' star is spreading joy through her art in Nashville
"Rock" star
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 20:08:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some public art is so popular, the line just to take a picture looks like it belongs at a rock concert. But if you ask Gina Sasser, a different Nashville resident is the real "rock" star.

"This one looks like the RV resort. It’s got our shop, ice chest, the water fountain over here," said Sasser.

She's showing NewsChannel 5 a rock diorama created by a woman, who takes normal stones you might find in a landscaping pile and gives them a fresh coat of paint. "Yeah, she’s very talented. I love them all," said Sasser.

Gina can't tell you exactly why she loves them so much. "She’s an awesome person to do that for people, and make them happy. They make me happy, I know that," she said.

This is fitting because neither can the artist. "Why am I making all of these stones?" said Nancy Corcoran, our Raphael of rock-work.

Corcoran can't really explain why she started this passion project on a whim. "But the purpose will come," she added.

Sometimes, she likes painting rocks based on who she's giving them to. "There’s a couple down the street that collects turtles, so I made a turtle," said Corcoran.

But most of the time, the rocks tell her. "I saw the gorilla and the gorilla said paint me, so I painted him," she explained.

Corcoran has painted everything from bald eagles, crocodiles and fish to American flags, faces, people and hamburgers. Unlike most artists, she never signs her name or seeks recognition. "I go out at night when nobody’s looking or when I know the person’s at work or something, I leave a stone. I’ve been anonymous until now," said Corcoran.

For Corcoran, this isn't about her. All she wants is to know it brought someone joy. "Somebody cared, somebody cared enough to think of them to leave a little gift," she said.

It's brought that and more for Sasser. "I have breast cancer and I’m going through chemo right now so yes they’ve made me happy and inspired me to keep going," said Sasser.

After she shared her diagnosis with Corcoran, our rock painter created a special creation just for Sasser. On one side of the rock, it says: When your day suddenly turns a little crappy... and on the other side: Force a smile.

Sasser admits she's been forcing a lot of smiles lately. But just knowing that someone cares is the rock-solid foundation she needs to fight on. "It’s gonna make me cry," she said. "It’s not like she laid me out a million dollars but to me, they’re worth that. They made me smile on a day I wasn’t feeling good as well from my treatment. She brought them in and I had a smile ear to ear."

Corcoran plans to find more rocks to paint and keep her ministry going for as long as it continues to bring joy.