Oxford Companies narrows artist submissions for latest mural

Oxford Companies is working to put up another large mural in downtown Ann Arbor this summer, and the property management firm is in the beginning stages of picking the design.

The mural will go on the side of 1214 S State St near the University of Michigan campus. It will be one story tall and measure 500 square feet. It is expected to have a U-M athletics theme. The company has received 20 submissions from artists and expects to pick a winner by July.

"We want to see it completed before the students get back," says Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies.

The Ann Arbor-based firm recently became the largest landlord in Ann Arbor, managing more than 1,000 units of student rentals next to the University of Michigan. It also purchased $115 million in commercial real-estate in Ann Arbor last year, and refinanced another $50 million worth of local properties.

Oxford Companies commissioned one of the largest pieces of public art in downtown Ann Arbor last year, a two-story mural on Fifth Street near Liberty Street. It also is the caretaker of the author’s mural at State and Liberty streets. This will be its second mural its commissioned.

"The goal is to do at least one a year," Hauptman says. "We want to recruit other property owners to do it, too. We have the next site picked out."

Oxford Companies commissions the public art as a way of raising the quality of life in Ann Arbor and its property values.

"To me its just a matter of making Ann Arbor a better place," Hauptman says. "When it comes to how much to spend on it we ask how much does it cost to do it right?"

Source: Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.