News + Notes

A Message From The Head of School: In Solidarity

06/08/20

As a community of artists, The Oxbow School stands in support of black communities across the country. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sandra Bland, Tyisha Miller, Nina Pop, and Ahmaud Arbery are tragic victims of white supremacy and brutality and their deaths and those that precede them serve as an urgent call to action for organizations like ours.

As nationwide Black Lives Matter protests hold up a stark mirror to systemic racism, school administrators across the country must ask whether or not we are doing the work necessary to transcend the very systems that perpetuate an inability to access equitable education. Having taught in a variety of different educational settings, I believe that every child should have access to a quality education that bolsters them into successful individuals. This should be a foundational right. And yet, not only is the American public school system rooted directly in “savage inequality,” independent schools like Oxbow that rely on tuition revenue seem to stand in direct contradiction to that very right. As a country and a school community, we certainly have a lot of work to do moving forward. The Oxbow School faculty, staff, and trustees are prepared to acknowledge and examine our own systems, personal privilege, and cultural assumptions so that we can hold candid conversations to participate in dismantling historic oppression.

At The Oxbow School, it is our mission to cultivate a safe place for the members of this community. We strive to instill in students the self-awareness, lifelong skills, and individual agency to become responsible leaders in the world -- “artivists.” While many of our alumni are currently engrossed in grassroots organizing and revolutionizing their own social arts practice during this unjust time, let’s seek clarity around what it means to “stand in solidarity.” It is imperative that organizations commit to “solidarity” by making decisions and taking actions that give weight to that word.

What do we stand for and how do we show up for those values? At the heart of any good school, it is paramount to pause every so often to practice institutional self-reflection. What are we, where are we going, and what is our responsibility as a leader in arts education, a field that is itself marginalized and, at worst, deemed irrelevant by some? At Oxbow, we have always taken great pride in our ability to provide an equitable arts education by offering scholarships to students less financially privileged. As the pandemic continues to cripple the economy, very few organizations and families remain untouched, leaving the looming challenge of how to actively stand in solidarity in the face of social, political, and economic upheaval.

The Oxbow School community is committed to being proactive stewards for young artists. To that end, we commit to:

  • Delivering affordable fall programming that includes online projects, workshops, artist lectures, and portfolio reviews;
  • Offering free instruction and after-school programs for local students who attend schools where art programming has been cut;
  • Developing a long-term “artist as activist” program to help young artists emerge as agents of change;
  • Engaging in anti-racist training and self-education;
  • Executing recruitment strategies to diversify the Oxbow community;
  • Raising scholarship funds for students of color and transgender students in financial need;
  • Partnering with anti-racist organizations with like-minded interests and values; and
  • Examining, revising, and adopting an anti-racist curriculum.

We appreciate your continued support of the school and invite you to be part of our commitment towards proactive change, stewardship, and solidarity.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Jordan

Head of School

A School Like No Other

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