Peanut the Python sited in Luverne

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

A community art collaboration has slithered its way onto the lower sidewalk at the corner of Third Street and Forest Avenue. Located in front of the Crenshaw County Economic Development office, Peanut the Python – the Luverne Rock Snake stretches southward down Forest Avenue and on Aug. 9 was nearing 16 feet long. 

Peanut is created from artfully painted rocks, personalized and placed by members of the community and beyond. 

The idea took root when Beth Rogers of Rutledge struck up a conversation with Kathy Smyth, a Luverne City Councilperson, about similar initiatives she had seen in neighboring communities. Smyth, too, was enthused by the concept and together they took the necessary steps to bring Peanut the Python to life. 

“I talked to Kathy to see what she thought, and she loved the idea too,” Rogers said. “So, we filled out the necessary paperwork and the city council voted to approve it and we got the official green light.”

The creative process involved input from various sources right from the beginning. Donna Wright with the Crenshaw County Economic & Industrial Development Authority proposed the name “Peanut the Python,” and Stephanie Jones and her team at DSA Graphics designed and crafted the distinctive sign that lets people know they have found the starting point of the serpent-like artform. 

The premise behind Peanut is simple – community members of all ages are encouraged to paint and seal rocks. These rocks, once decorated, can be brought to Luverne and added to the growing line of Peanut the Python’s body. Rogers stressed that to ensure the longevity of the artwork, it is essential to seal the rocks with a clear sealant. 

The social media presence of Peanut the Python has been instrumental in promoting the project. By liking Peanut the Python – the Luverne Rock Snake on Facebook, posting pictures of their painted rocks, and adding hashtag #luvernerocksnake, participants can share their creations and contribute to the growing sense of community pride that Peanut the Python represents. 

Smyth expressed her enthusiasm for the rock snake, acknowledging its positive impact on the town and county. According to Smyth the rock snake has not only added a touch of whimsy to the curbside appeal, but also fosters a sense of community pride and togetherness.

“I thought it was a good, clean, fun way to engage the public and draw attention to downtown,”  Smyth said. “I’ve seen similar activities in other towns and Peanut the Python gives people something positive to talk about and to participate in.”

Luverne resident Sue Marie Loss shared her delightful experience on social media. 

“We came today and my Grandson loved it,” Loss said. “Painting the rocks not only gives my grandkids an outlet for their own creativity but an opportunity for us to hang out, talk and make memories. Memories are more valuable than any material thing you could buy and I feel this is a great idea for the community for so many reasons. It teaches kids (and adults) if everyone can give just a little we can create something really big and beautiful. Not to mention it’s not expensive and it’s cool that it’s a continuous project, that snake could reach the Chicken Shack one day!”

As Peanut the Python continues evolving, the perpetually growing creation serves as a reminder that creativity and unity are the lifeblood of any thriving community. Through the simple act of painting rocks and adding them to the art piece, Luverne and surrounding communities are weaving together their collective narratives, one vibrant stone at a time. So, if you find yourself in Luverne, be sure to pay a visit to Peanut the Python, and perhaps leave a piece of your own story behind.