Published on April 8th, 2021 | by TLV News0
Greetings from Oxford: New Mural Welcomes All to the Center of Culture in North Mississippi
Now, the Oxford, Mississippi, community and visitors will be able to send “Greetings from Oxford” with a custom painted mural to be located on a wall in the lower parking lot behind City Hall. The thirty-two feet by nine feet artwork, depicted as a postcard mural painted by Greetings Tour company, features iconic scenes from Oxford as well as cultural and historical imagery.
Visit Oxford received a grant from the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Alliance to fund a public work of art that will highlight and bring awareness to heritage in the areas of African American history, literary history, Native American history, and local culture. “The hope is this mural will bring interest to these important parts of our history all while bringing beautification to our town,” said Kinney Ferris, Executive Director of Visit Oxford.
“Oxford has long been recognized as a cultural mecca. We have seen public art lead to increased levels of community engagement and know that our citizens and visitors will enjoy engaging with this mural as a backdrop,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill.
Sights around Oxford: The letters O and X capture the spirit of Christmastime in Oxford as the downtown Square is lit by a canopy of white lights. This mural section also showcases the facade of Neilson’s department store, the oldest in the South, as well as the bright blue water tower bearing the city’s name and logo.
Literary History: Oxford has been home to many authors, welcoming them in its warm embrace and fostering their talents. The letter F will highlight local authors including Ellen Douglas, Barry Hannah, David Sansing, Larry Brown, and Nobel-prize laureate William Faulkner.
Southern food: Known as a culinary destination in the South, Oxford prides itself on delectable Southern food. The letter O will be filled with a Southern fried catfish plate as an example of the one-on-a-kind food you can find in the small town.
Native American roots: The letter R will feature a rendering of Chickasaw maiden, Princess Hoka. Oxford was founded on land that was purchased from Princess Hoka in 1836 before becoming home to Mississippi’s first university—the University of Mississippi.
African American Heritage: The letter D showcases the Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center, dedicated to African American history. After the Civil War, the Burns Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by freed African Americans who settled in the area known as “Freedmen Town” and erected the current church building in 1910. Following its recently completed restoration, the Burns-Belfry offers a professionally designed museum exhibit on African American history from slavery through Civil Rights.
The mural is scheduled to be finished by mid-April. Community members and visitors will have the opportunity to have their picture taken in front of the mural by a local photographer on Saturday, April 24, as part of the Pop Up Oxford: Spring Edition festivities that Visit Oxford is planning. For more information and details, visit popupoxfordms.com.
Greetings Tour company creates landmarks through public art and works with communities to create colorful murals featuring local landmarks, history, and culture. The artist duo consists of muralist and former New York graffiti artist, Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs who have completed over 45 murals in 21 states and plan on continuing their mission to paint in all fifty states.
Local artist Bradley Gordon will also play a part in the creation of the Greetings mural. Gordon said, “I’m honored to be a part of such a cool project for our little town and really look forward to watching it come to life! Go Oxford!” Gordon will collaborate with Greetings Tour by utilizing his painting style to create the wings around Princess Hoka’s face in a depiction of the original logo.