The Oxbow Happy Holidays p1 Concept 03
Around the Bend

Around the Bend - December 2022


Dear Friends of Oxbow,

The December weather has brought a cold front across the country, inspiring even the most outdoorsy leaning individual to seek respite next to a fire with a good book and a steaming cup of tea. As I write this on the heels of our students’ departure, a thick fog hovers over the river and a haunting silence permeates the air. It’s the perfect setting to curl up in my favorite chair next to the window and let my mind wander. As 2022 comes to a close, it seems timely to celebrate the various successes at Oxbow over the past year:

  • We held three very successful terms this year – Spring, Summer, and Fall. Our new 6-week Summer Art Institute has allowed us to extend arts programming to maximize the annual calendar. Students who participate in the Oxbow Summer Art Institute have the opportunity to experience the social, intellectual, and creative community that Oxbow is so well known for. This summer residency invites young artists from all experience levels to engage in a multidisciplinary arts practice, experimenting in a variety of media. If you know a high school or gap year student who might be interested in attending Oxbow during the summer, please contact us at

  • We invited three new faculty/staff members to join the Oxbow community: Maggie Matthews (Admissions Representative), Sophia Bertollini (Chef), and Alexeis Reyes (Printmaking Instructor and Dorm Head) bring experience and a shared passion for an arts centered community. We also reinstated the Teaching Fellow program and hired OS33 alumna Sarah Soucek and Bay Area artist Darcy Nicholson. All of the adults at Oxbow play an important role in shaping the young lives of those who enter the program. It is a place where students and adults alike forge deep connections that last a lifetime and we are honored that the new team members are part of that legacy.

  • Many of you know how important the culinary experience is at Oxbow. Our talented chefs provide delicious, nutrient rich meals that keep our community thriving. Sharing meals together allows time during the day to decompress and bridge personal connections and, taking advantage of the beautiful California weather, most of those meals are eaten outside. After many years of wear and tear, the beloved deck off of the dining hall saw its last meals at the end of the summer. While it was a bittersweet nostalgic moment to watch the story-laden redwood dismantled, the new deck marks a symbolic chapter on the Oxbow campus as we make plans to initiate a Capital Campaign over the next few years.

  • This year marks our mid-cycle review for our accrediting organization, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges). After a thorough review of our action plan laid out in the Spring of 2019, I am pleased to share that we are well on our way to meeting (if not exceeding) the targeted goals. The faculty, staff, and student body collaborated to identify and articulate the core values and learner outcomes that serve as the core for the Oxbow program. These values include: creative and critical inquiry; effective communication; self-empowered learning; collaborative mindset; and responsible citizenship.

  • The OS47 cohort departed this week and, like many semesters that preceded them, they excelled during Final Project. They made stellar artwork and delivered strong oral presentations during the celebratory art show. Please stay tuned for an updated gallery on the Oxbow website where you can find images of the work and read each student’s paper and artist statement.

On behalf of the Oxbow community, I extend warm wishes to you and your family during this holiday season.


Jennifer Jordan

Head of School


We are honored to celebrate Chris Thorson, Painting Instructor and Dean of Arts Practice. Chris (she/her) earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004, after a BFA in Painting and Art History from Washington University in St. Louis in 2001; she also attended the Yale Summer School of Art and Music in Norfolk, CT.

Chris’s Blunt Instrument and Projectile bronze sculptures were featured at the Quint Gallery this fall. Check it out here.

Chris Thorson, (from left) Projectile, 0.95 lbs.; Projectile, 0.34 lbs.; Blunt Instrument, 4.56 lbs., 2022.

VAPA Napa Educators Recognize Arts Students for Excellence Qualifying them for ACNVEA Scholarships: The Arts Council Napa Valley Education Alliance (ACNVEA) is privileged to award the following teachers and students. Twelve students are recognized monthly for Visual and Performing Arts Student of the Month (SOM) winners. ACNVEA SOM annual awards initiative seeks nominees monthly, culminating in a scholarship ceremony at the end of the school year.

We are delighted to share two Oxbow student recipients for the months of October, Karley Martin, and November, Miles Ilasco. Please help us congratulate these students.

Studio Art (TIE): Karley Martin, Oxbow Senior

Chris Thoron, Dean of Studio Art Practice, writes this about Karley:

“Karley Martin joined The Oxbow School community this fall and has shown exemplary talent in her artistic executions, seeks out feedback, and has shown much personal growth in her few months on campus. She works hard at exploring the different disciplines at Oxbow and has advanced in her recent oil paintings. Karley is truly passionate about oil painting and portraiture. She is a methodical painter who challenges herself with each new piece.”

Digital Art Award (TIE): Miles Mariano Ilasco, Oxbow School Junior

Miles Mariano Ilasco was nominated for his digital project entitled WE ARE NOT THE SAME, in which he celebrates his Filipino heritage. In his artist statement for this project, Miles shares, "My family lives by the saying, ‘They will recognize us.' Growing up Filipino was confusing. When I was in kindergarten, I didn’t know I was Filipino until I met another girl in another class who told me I was. I went around telling everyone I was Filipino, but nobody even knew what that was. After that moment, as I only grew older, I realized that there is little to no Filipino recognition in the world."

He continues, “When I heard we had an assignment about activism, I knew I wanted to make it as personal as possible. The yellow beams in the background of the poster represent the Filipino star on our flag. The star on the flag has 8 rays and is a symbol for the fight for independence from Spanish rule. The image in the center is a photo of me. I used an image of myself because it’s a more powerful statement to put a photo of myself around town. For people to see my face but not know my name. Overall, I don’t need my poster to change the world but I want the community around to see me as who I am and others who are like me.”


Nicole Carey, Girl in an Orange Shirt, Summer 2022

The Oxbow School accepts sophomore, junior, senior, and gap year applicants for the 2023 Summer Art Institute and Fall 2023 + Spring 2024 semesters. Limited space is available for our Spring 2023 program, which begins on January 20, 2023.

We are offering two upcoming opportunities to meet with our Admissions team virtually on January 8th and February 5th. We look forward to meeting with you to answer any questions you might have about our summer and semester programs.

This past year, we've received incredible students from all across the country and internationally! Please find a list of our 2022 sending schools below. If we haven't had the chance, we would love the opportunity to visit your high school or after-school program to share information about Oxbow.

Academy of Thought and Industry
Archie Williams High School
Benicia High School
Berkeley High School
Crystal Springs Uplands School
Davis Senior High School
Drew School
El Cerrito High School
Fusion Academy
Half Moon Bay High School
Hamlin School
Harbor High School
Harvard-Westlake School
Idyllwild Arts Academy
Kehillah Jewish High School
La Jolla Country Day School
Los Osos High School
Mentoring Academy
Notre Dame High School
Oakland Technical High School
Orchard View High School
Pacific Ridge School
Palo Alto High School
Piedmont High School
Prospect High School
Quest Forward Academy
Renaissance Arts Academy
San Domenico School
San Francisco University High School
St. Francis High School
St. Helena High School
Tamalpais High School
Terra Linda High School
The Thacher School
The Urban School of San Francisco

New Canaan High School
The Taft School

Holy Innocents Episcopal School
Oak Meadow School
The Lovett School
The Westminster Schools
Woodward Academy

Abbott Lawrence Academy
Belmont Hill School
Concord Academy
Dana Hall School
The Winsor School

Friends School of Baltimore
Gilman School
Mercy High School
Roland Park Country Day School

Camden Hills Regional High School

The Blake School

North Carolina
Brevard High School

New Hampshire
Hanover High School

New Jersey
Montclair Kimberley Academy

New Mexico
New Mexico School for the Arts
Tierra Adentro of New Mexico

The Davidson Academy

New York
Emma Willard School
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
Grace Church School
Riverdale Country School
The Berkeley Carroll School
The Masters School
The Packer Collegiate Institute

St. Mary's Academy

Harriton High School

Greenhill School

The Potomac School

Mt. Abraham Union High School

Bainbridge High School
Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lauder Javne School - Budapest, Hungary

A School Like No Other