When students from Catonsville High School first arrived at the side of the M & T Bank building, it was hard to envision a multi-faceted mural depicting Catonsville's history on a 100-by-14 foot cinder block wall.
But so far, groups of students have made a lot of progress, adding clouds, trees and color to the wall that faces Bloomsbury Avenue.
The mural was designed by a team of residents that includes the artistic talents of Catonsville mural artist Edward Williams. The mural will have three different themes of past, present and future.
It faces the parking lot of the House of Time, at the intersection of Frederick Road and Bloomsbury Avenue.
Williams, who has painted murals across Maryland, said this is the first time he has painted a mural in the town where he lives.
Students from the National Arts Honor Society at the high school are helping with the mural in shifts after school. Tuesday was their second day on the site, and Williams expects them to continue working for three more weeks.
The first step is paint the backdrop of the mural and then add the layers of detail, which include historic images of Catonsville, the Fourth of July parade and Frederick Road.
All of the students on Tuesday said they had not worked on a project as big as this and didn't have experience working in cinderblock.
Williams said he enjoys seeing students use different brush techniques.
"Once they get it, I'm always amazed at the joy that they feel at how they've improved," he said.
The mural, which faces one of the busiest intersections in Catonsville, has had a captive audience. Students reported drivers shouting out praise from their cars as they wait at the light on Frederick Road.
Sophomore Bella Willeboordse said when she arrived Thursday, the wall seemed daunting. But as she and six other students started working, they found they made faster progress than they expected.
"If students keep coming out and doing their part, we'll get it done," she said.
Williams said he has also enjoyed the community aspect of this project, which was funded by Catonsville businesses and organizations. Catonsville restaurants also donated food for the students, who are working five days a week from about 3-6 p.m. every day.
"They really care about Catonsville and they want to do something positive," he said.