The completed work, which is about six feet high and fifteen feet long, started as one large piece of clay. Working from aerial -photographs, road maps, and a small scale model, McCroskey cut the clay into the various shaped tiles which represent waterways, buildings, and fields of the Washington metropolitan area. The space left between the curved cuts of the tiles represent roadways.
To add more dimension to the work, McCroskey added clay to build-up some of the tiles, and carved away at others. One of the easiest landmarks to identify is a small white dome representing the Jefferson memorial. It is located within a group of mostly white tiles which form a recognizable square tilted on its side with a series of brightly colored blue
tiles curving into it Washington D.C. severed by the Potomac River.
The suburban landscape is more abstract. In many places oval shaped leaves have been formed along the twisting high ways to form a vine-like image, representing the more natural landscape of the suburbs. By contrast, the shapes in and near the city are more geometrical.
McCroskey explains that the tiles represent not only the physical landscape, but the cultural landscape as well. She adapted one pattern from the complex metallic lines of computer
PC boards. They represent the lines of information and technology extending from the District to the suburbs.
The mural is perfect for a school. Unlike most museum art, the tiles are okay to touch. In fact, McCroskey encourages the students to do so.
The representations of Whetstone Elementary and Washington give the students some base of reality, something they can recognize while they increase their appreciation for the beauty of abstract art.
After the mural was successfully mounted in the entrance hall of the school, PTSA President Mary Beth Huber looked at it with pride and pleasure. "We wanted something timeless," she explained.
Students, teachers, parents, and visitors will enjoy this handsome work of art for years to come.