Fencing in creativity may sound stifling, but not when University of Maryland graduate students team up with the city of Hyattsville.

Toddlers, seniors and many others in between gathered Saturday at the ArtWorks Now center to paint a mural nearly 17 feet long and 4 feet high with students in the course “Building Community Through Visual Literacy and Narrative.” This Saturday, the painting will be woven into the wood-post fence outside the nonprofit to provide more privacy to children playing there.

The bright canvas features an abstract design conveying the theme of growth through community, with cultural symbols, people figures, trees and a globe. The six students in Associate Clinical Professor Margaret Walker’s class brainstormed that design over two weekends with community members.

"The divisions in our society seem to be growing wider recently, so it is really important to create opportunities for people of various backgrounds, ages, cultures, races and beliefs to meet together in a communal way, to make art, to talk, to share stories, songs, food, whatever," Walker said. "It helps us all see that we are all connected to each other, and narrows the gaps between us."

Mural being painted