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“Greetings from Oxford” mural to be completed this month

Oxford’s second mural will be completed later this month, featuring iconic scenes from Oxford as well as references to cultural and historical imagery.

The artwork, titled “Greetings from Oxford,” is a custom-painted mural located on a wall in the lower parking lot behind Oxford City Hall. Measuring in at 32-feet by nine-feet, it is depicted in a postcard-style mural painted by Greetings Tour company.

Visit Oxford received a grant from the Mississippi Hills 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 the mural will bring interest to these important parts of our history all while bringing beautification to our town,” said Visit Oxford Executive Director Kinney Ferris.

There are five categories that the mural will represent, including Sights Around Oxford, Literary History, Southern Food, Native American roots and African-American Heritage.

The letter “R” in the mural will feature a rendering of Native American Chickasaw Maiden, Princess Hoka. Oxford was founded on land that was purchased from Princess Hoka in 1836, eventually becoming the site and home for the University of Mississippi.

Representing African-American heritage, Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center will be featured in the letter “D” of the mural. Following the Civil War, the Burns Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by African-Americans who settled in the area known as “Freedmen Town” and erected the church building in 1910.

Letters “O” and “X” will highlight Oxford during the Christmas season, with the downtown Square lit by the Canopy of Lights. This portion of the mural will also include the facade of Neilson’s Department Store, the oldest department store in the South, as well as the blue water tower located just southeast of the Square.

The letter “F” will highlight local authors, including William Faulkner, Barry Hannah, Larry Brown, Ellen Douglas and David Sansing.

“Oxford has long been recognized as a cultural mecca,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “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.”

The artist duo of Victor Ving, a muralist and former New York graffiti artist, and photographer Lisa Beggs are working on the mural. The pair have completed more than 45 murals in 21 states and plan to paint a mural in all 50 states.

Local artist Bradley Gordon is also helping in creating the mural. Gordon is working with Greetings Tour by utilizing his painting style to create the wings around Princess Hoka’s face in a depiction of the original logo.

“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,” Gordon said.

The mural is scheduled to be completed later this month. Community members and visitors will have the opportunity to have their photo taken at the mural by a local photographer on April 24 as part of the Pop Up Oxford: Spring Edition event.