WILLIAMSTOWN -- A 16th-century depiction of a fantastical creature will soon be given new life in a colorful new mural.
And it's all thanks to six teenaged girls who took part in a mural painting workshop this week at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
The 8-foot-by-16-foot mural, inspired by Albrecht Dürer's 16th-century woodcut "The Rhinoceros," will be on display for five to 10 years in downtown North Adams, program teacher Frank Gregory said.
"We had a lot of ground to cover this week and they did really well," Gregory said of the area students Thursday. "We were ahead of schedule by the second day."
The week-long mural workshop, which ends today, was spearheaded by North Adams artist Andrew Davis. He helped out with the beginning of the week, Gregory said, but left to take part in a program in China.
Gregory, a Greenfield artist who has created public art installations in several states, stepped up as his substitute. Andy Cross, a student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who will graduate in December, assisted him.
A print of Dürer's woodcut, created in 1515, is in the Clark's collection, Gregory said.
"At the time in Europe, no one had even scene a rhinoceros," Gregory explained. "Stories of them arrived before anyone had ever seen one."
Dürer's rhinoceros has several features not found on the actual animal. The animal is depicted having plate-like armor that covers its side, a small horn on its back and scales on its legs. The children were allowed to take liberties with the animal's appearance.
"We decided to empower the kids to come up with the design," Gregory said. "We knew we wanted it to be colorful."
Gregory said a major challenge the group rose to was scaling up the size of Durer's print -- the original only measures 8 and one-quarter by 11 and five-eighths inches.
Three separate pieces of exterior-grade canvas were used to create the mural.
The group placed a grid over the original print, chalk-lined a grid on each mural canvas, and then filled in each square on the mural in the corresponding square on the print.
The efforts of the girls' hard work was revealed when the three canvases were placed together and all were stood up against the wall.
"It was like magic," Gregory said. "They had no idea what their little square is really a part of. They were up dancing around."
On Thursday, the girls were busy putting some final touches on their creation. Every one of them said they were excited to have their work in a public place.
"I think it gives us bragging rights," Olivia Douhan, 13, of Pittsfield, said. "In seven years, I'll say [to one of my friends], ‘Do you see that? I made that."
The girls will be honored at an unveiling at the next DownStreet Art event in North Adams on Thursday, July 25.
The mural will be hung in the Center Street parking lot, Gregory said, on a blank wall near the Hoosac Bank drive-through. The space will lend itself to enjoying the mural, he said.
"With those walls, it becomes a little room," he said.
To reach Edward Damon,