Over the course of two months, Michael Kramer became an artist-in-residence at Royle Elementary School while he painted the new mural leading into the school's library.

"We were afraid he wasn't going to finish in time," said Principal Keith Margolus. "It was impossible to walk past him and not stop and ask questions."

Kramer, who also painted the mural in the Tokeneke Elementary School library, was commissioned by the Royle PTO to paint a mural that would bring color and life to the drab walls surrounding the library entrance way. He painted characters from popular children's books that the students voted on earlier in the year, such as Harry Potter, Curious George, a lorax and characters from "Where the Wild Things Are."

Alicia Lyon, one of the mothers who oversaw the project, said her third-grade daughter would come home from school and they would "have real discussions about the art on the walls."

"If every school had this, everything would be so much better," Lyon said.

Josie Herbert, a student at Royle, said that when she walked past Kramer working she would compliment him.

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"Wow," Herbert said she would tell him.

"It's great to take this exciting space and turn it into something where kids' imagination can run wild," said Kramer, 29, who studied dentistry before becoming a muralist.

"It's so important to have the kids have this experience of seeing an artist-in-residence, and to see it grow and change and to see the process of art," Lyon said. "It lets them see that there are whole other worlds out there besides being a doctor or a lawyer or a lacrosse player."

The mural was unveiled during Royle's Art and Literature Night on Thursday, May 2. The walls of some of the hallways were covered with art from all of the students and a book sale was conducted.

There are tentative plans for Kramer to continue work in Royle and paint a mural in the cafeteria.

"We're not letting him go just yet," Lyon said.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; @Meg_DarienNews