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It’s not quite the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, but an outside wall at Casey Jones Restaurant and Bar is the latest canvas for local artists, and a fundraiser for Hospice of Charles County to boot.

For a donation of $40 per square foot, people are invited to paint on an exterior wall of the restaurant that faces a parking lot.

“The idea is you paint something that inspires you and celebrates the joys of life,” said Lisa Bales, co-owner of the restaurant. Bales said she got the idea because several staff members at Casey Jones have had loved ones cared for by Hospice of Charles County. Also, she said she wants to help because the organization no longer will hold its primary fundraising event, the Festival of Trees.

Bales said 360 squares are available, and 40 have been painted so far. Among the painted squares is a red heart painted by Lisa Bales and a profile of a swimmer doing the butterfly stroke painted by her husband, Paul Bales, also co-owner of Casey Jones.

Lisa Bales said if every square is sold, the restaurant will raise $14,400 for the hospice. She said she hopes the “growing mural” will be finished by May.

“It’s been a really hot Christmas gift for people, so we’re pleased with that,” Lisa Bales said. She said she loves art and thinks that most people think of art as being confined to museums, but also it can be a form of expression.

Paul and Lisa Bales have seen the work and commitment of hospice staff firsthand. Lisa Bales said her husband’s father was in hospice almost four years ago, and she is in awe of the caretakers.

“We wanted to do something that celebrated life and those who help with end-of-life care,” Lisa Bales said. When she started thinking of what the restaurant staff could do to give back to Hospice staff, she thought of the empty 30-by-15-foot wall at the restaurant.

Nancy Bowling, president and CEO of Hospice of Charles County, said the organization’s board of directors was taken aback and impressed when presented with the mural idea at Casey Jones. All 16 board members donated to purchase 16 squares. Bowling said she is not sure what will be painted in the 16 squares, but she is interested to see what everyone paints on the wall.

“I think the thing I like the best about it is it’s permanent,” Bowling said of the mural, adding that the staff at the hospice is thankful for the community’s support, which makes it possible for the hospice to do what it does.

The Festival of Trees was an annual event held the weekebnd after Thanksgiving in November and included a series of events.

The last festival was held in 2012, Bowling said, adding that declining numbers in recent years for the festival, which began 25 years ago, encouraged the hospice to stop holding the festival.

Bowling said that the hospice wanted the festival “to go out on a good note.” Friends of Hospice, which organized the event, is looking at other fundraising options, and in the meantime the hospice has the fundraiser at Casey Jones.

“We see ourselves as an integral part of the community,” Bowling said.