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Sunday April 20, 2014
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Ann Arbor Art



Back in 1987, the developer worked with Marsha Chamberlin, then president of the Ann Arbor Art Center, to commission fourteen paintings of local scenes. A year ago, as his business, First Martin Corporation, prepared to celebrate its forty-fifth year, Martin decided to expand the collection to forty-five.

He again called on Chamberlin, now an independent art consultant. Martin says he didn't have any preconceived ideas about the new pieces he wanted, other than that they had to be Ann Arbor scenes done by Michigan artists: "Marsha was the one who was the talent director."

Chamberlin built a database of more than 500 artists, contacted them all, and opened a Facebook page to spread the word. She says "eighty to eighty-five" responded with a resume and five samples of their work.

Three judges--Chamberlin, local artist Julia Jickling, and First Martin VP Bob Gates--whittled the list down to twenty-three. Each was asked which three Ann Arbor scenes they'd most like to paint. The committee assigned each artist one or more scenes and asked them to submit sketches, along with the proposed medium, size, and price of the work. The asking prices ranged from $800 to $8,000. To avoid breaking Martin's budget, some prices were negotiated.

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