A blank wall can be a foreboding bit of architecture. Be it brick, block, concrete or wood, a building side with no windows generally has an unwelcoming aura.

Possibly, that's why in many communities, an urban American tradition has grown up that results in big, blank walls being turned into forums for artistic expression.

Early in this tradition, which seems to have its roots in grassroots urban renewal efforts in the 1960s and 1970s, but in those days a fair amount of the work was done clandestinely and regarded by many as graffiti.

In more recent years, especially in Havre de Grace, blank walls have been seen as places where a nice image can be put in place to lift spirits, generally with the permission of the wall owner and the blessing of community leaders.


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The latest bit of public art to come about in Harford County in this tradition was devised in much the same way public art has usually come into being. A mural on the side of the Harford County Sheriff's Office Headquarters on Main Street came about when Marshall Adams was hired to paint a mural with the theme "Old and New."

It shows two sides of main street, one as it appears these days, the other as it appeared years back.

It's a rather fine addition to the scenery of a fairly bustling old-time main street in town, and hopefully won't be the last of its kind in the county seat.