Around the Bend

Around-the-Bend

09/20/19

As we welcome 39 vibrant students from across the country, I am struck by the excitement that comes with the start of the school year. Having been in education for my entire life, my sense of time is inextricably tied to the school calendar. Call me nostalgic, but I long for the opening of the school year. While our students have only been here for a mere three weeks, I can sense a lifetime of relationships beginning to crystallize. I am often asked, “What makes Oxbow so unique?” and my quick reply is, “The students’ thirst for growth and willingness to be vulnerable.” The Oxbow community is built on the notion that by openly embracing the unknown, one will discover the best version of who they are and who they can become. It is my belief that a good school instills students with the courage to take intellectual, creative, social, and personal risks. Oxbow students quickly learn the value of building trust within the community, and our alums consistently cite “personal transformation” as the most noted takeaway from their time at Oxbow. I look forward to being part of that transformation with OS41. I recently received a letter from an alum who reminded me of her own life-altering experience: “The semester I spent there had a great impact on my life, an impact that I am conscious of on a daily basis. I was seriously unhappy in high school, desperate to feel seen, although I didn’t quite know what that meant. I knew I was committed to art but didn’t have a social realm for it. I can’t imagine a more supportive and magical environment than Oxbow, for any teenager experiencing what they are bound to experience. And then especially for those who are beginning to build a relationship with their art practice, it’s beyond special. Oxbow woke me up, gave me light, and really gave me hope. I was hardly interested in going to college prior to attending Oxbow; the thought of putting myself through more school was dreadful. It was there that I was able to link my notions of education with something alternative and positive. At Oxbow I met my most crucial friend and eternal collaborator. Through our friendship I began to understand the immense power of collaboration, and how that power could transcend a project into life. To experience the rigor of Oxbow’s curriculum was pivotal for me, and I know that it put me ahead of the game in future endeavors. I already had been given the time and space to solely make work, which I consider an unparalleled experience for this age group. I wish that all teenagers could have access to some version of Oxbow—a space that prioritizes self-worth and treats students with respect. As a student there, I understood that the expectations were high, but never felt alone in working to meet those standards. And due to Oxbow’s balance of challenge and support, I was able to excel beyond what I thought I was capable of.”

Warm regards,
Jennifer Jordan, Head of School

Around the Bend

Around the Bend

06/20/19

Dear Oxbow Friends,

Following the remarkable leadership provided by Stephen Thomas for twenty years, it is my humble pleasure to bring another academic year to a successful close. Stephen has been a close friend and mentor for me throughout my tenure at Oxbow and I am indebted to him and the founders, the Mondavis and Ann Hatch, for bringing the vision for an arts-centric community into reality for motivated adolescents across the country. In honor of Stephen’s dedication to Oxbow, the “Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund” was launched last year to support future students who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend. I am proud to announce that this scholarship fund is thriving today with record numbers of students receiving scholarship money. Please join me as we celebrate key highlights of the 2018-2019 year:

• We hosted two very strong semesters of students who were committed to making serious work, building a close-knit community, creating space for play, and engaging in introspective self-reflection;
• We welcomed stellar visiting artists for 10-day residencies—Rebecca Manson, James Sansing, Natan Daskal, Judith Belzer—who collaborated with Oxbow students to expand their artmaking in new and creative ways;
• We embarked on “Oxpedition” adventures into the sublime California landscape that included overnight camping at Salmon Creek Farm, the Headlands, the redwood coast, and the Pinnacles;
• We celebrated a beautiful Spring Benefit Dinner at Hudson Ranch, an online wine auction, BottleRock glamping experience, and Napa Makes event, all of which support financial aid for future Oxbow students;
• We engaged in a successful WASC accreditation review and site visit to set strategic goals to build the program around student centered learner outcomes for the next six years;
• We hired a new math teacher and a new English teacher, both of whom have been in the Oxbow family for years;
• We waved “bon voyage” to two faculty members to boldly travel aboard a tall ship on an international residency into the Arctic Circle with fellow scientists, artists, and educators;
• And finally, we just welcomed our first round of summer campers, an eager group who were seen making art within the first hours of arrival.

This has been a year of adventure!

As we turn towards the future, the Oxbow family will continue to make a lasting impact on young people. To demonstrate your support in a very tangible way, there’s still time to participate in Oxbow’s Annual Fund and/or the “Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund” which you can learn more about here. Our fiscal year ends June 30. Every gift matters, no matter the size. I thank you in advance for your generosity and commitment to the school.

Warm regards,
Jennifer Jordan, Interim Head of School

Around the Bend

Around-the-Bend

06/20/18

Dear Oxbow Friends,

Wow—this has been a remarkable year in every way possible! We began with a national search for, and successful hiring of, the school's second Head of School, Michael Williamson, who begins July 1, and:

  • We launched the Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund to support future students who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend Oxbow;
  • We were all witness to, but fortunately undamaged by, the catastrophic fires that affected both Sonoma and Napa Counties in the fall;
  • We had two very strong semesters with OS37 & OS38 drinking the proverbial Oxbow Kool-Aid and being initiated into the Oxbohemian secret society through their serious work and engagement;
  • Over 70 past Oxbow School Visiting Artists donated beautiful pieces of art which were exhibited and sold at a successful reception at the Robert Mondavi Winery in April;
  • We held a wonderful Spring Benefit with Pete Escovedo, an online Wine Auction and BottleRock Glamping, all of which support financial aid at Oxbow;
  • And finally, we hosted our first-ever overnight Alumni Ox-Campout where over 50 alums enjoyed an afternoon/evening of creating and relishing time back on campus, and capped off their visit with a tour of the extraordinary Oliver Ranch in Sonoma County.

This has been a year of extraordinary generosity from all sectors of the Oxbow community, for which I am deeply appreciative. It has also been a year of serious reflection on my time as the Founding Director of this gem of a little school, and remembering all of the people—students, faculty, staff, and board members—who have passed through here over the years. Everyone has had a meaningful impact, and Oxbow is a better place because of everyone's engagement. I step away feeling that the School is in good hands heading into the future, and now I can look forward to reading these monthly OxTales that share the latest news of the School.

And last but never least, there’s still time to participate in Oxbow’s Annual Fund and/or the Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund which you can learn more about here. Our fiscal year ends June 30. Every gift matters, no matter the size. I thank you in advance for your generous support.

Warm regards,
Stephen Thomas, Founding Director and Head of School

Around the Bend

Save the Date - May 12th Benefit Dinner and Concert with Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz Orchestra!

02/15/18

Dear Oxbow Friends,

This has been a busy and unusual school year at Oxbow. The Napa/Sonoma County fires in the fall were unprecedented in their scope and impact on the broader community. Thankfully, Oxbow came through unscathed, but that is not true of so many around us. After some winter rains, the scorched ridges are turning green very quickly, but that does not diminish the damage that was wrought. As we all watched the recent mud slides in the Santa Barbara area, we are all too aware that there may be more in store. We don't take anything for granted and are grateful for a strong school spirit and resilient community.

We welcomed OS38 students three weeks ago, and they are already deeply immersed in life at Oxbow. It is always a pleasure to greet an enthusiastic group of young people ready to dive right in.

We have a busy spring in store, so please mark your calendars for some upcoming key events.

Saturday, May 12 will be a very big day at Oxbow. The Final Show Open House for the public is from 2:00–5:00 p.m. We will also be hosting our Spring Benefit Concert that same Saturday evening. We are very pleased to announce that the legendary Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz Orchestra will be performing, so make sure you mark your calendars. More information will be forthcoming soon.

The Benefit Concert is at 6:00pm, a short walk from Oxbow at The CIA at Copia where guests will enjoy refreshments and have the option to partake of a delicious sit-down dinner, or you may purchase a concert-only ticket. Dinner with concert tickets are $350 each, and concert-only tickets $125. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased online at www.OxbowBenefit.org. Sponsorship letters with more details will be sent shortly, so keep an eye out for yours.

Leading up to the Benefit, the Robert Mondavi Winery will be hosting a curated Oxbow Visiting Artists Art Show. There will be an Opening Reception at Mondavi on Friday, April 27 from 6–8pm. In the school's 18+ year history, over 120 professional Visiting Artists have graced our program, and so far over 70 have generously donated a piece to the Works on Paper Exhibit at Mondavi in support of the Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund. We are delighted by their generosity—we hope you can come!

We will also be offering an online Wine Auction for the two weeks leading up to the Benefit. Stay tuned for details on this special fundraiser in conjunction with the Spring Benefit.

Finally, Oxbow will be hosting an Ox-Campout overnight on campus for all Alumni June 2nd and 3rd. Alumni, please tell your friends, mark your calendars, and most importantly, COME and enjoy two days on campus! There will be Oxbow-style art projects, bbq and a special tour of the Oliver Ranch Sculpture Garden on Sunday. We will offer dorm rooms and alums may also camp on the campus for the night. Not to be missed! More details to follow.

I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and fine spirits, and I look forward to seeing many of you on campus in May and June.

Stephen Thomas
Founding Director and Head of School

Around the Bend

Save the Date - May 13 Benefit Concert with Boz Scaggs!

03/13/17

Dear Oxbow Friends,

It's been a couple of months since you have heard from me; lots has been going on, including welcoming OS36 in January. They are now well into the Fortune Cookie project, and are delighted some sunshine has finally arrived after all the crazy rain this winter. Students thoroughly enjoyed Visiting Artist Hung Liu and Jeff Kelley’s recent residency where she worked closely with students on large-format paintings of tiny objects, and Jeff delivered a series of college-level slide lectures on contemporary art history. As some of you will remember, Hung was our very first resident artist, working in a building on the fairgrounds since the studios were not even built!

Saturday, May 13 will be a very big day at Oxbow. The Final Show Open House for the public is from 2:00-5:00 p.m. (OS36 families, watch your email for details on the plan for the morning which will be sent soon.)

And, as I hope you have heard by now, we are holding our Spring Benefit Concert that same Saturday evening. We are very pleased that the legendary Boz Scaggs will be performing, so make sure you mark your calendars. Boz performed at an Oxbow benefit many years ago now, and he was fabulous! We are delighted he's willing to return.

The Benefit Concert is at 6:00pm, a short walk from Oxbow at The CIA at Copia where guests will enjoy refreshments and have the option to partake of a buffet dinner at seated reserved tables, or purchase a concert-only ticket. Dinner with concert tickets are $350 each, and concert-only tickets $125. Printed invitations will be sent early April, so keep an eye out for yours. We will also host a curated Oxbow Alumni Art Show in the foyer of The CIA at Copia, which will allow guests to see both the immediate impact of an Oxbow experience at Final Show, and what can happen after students graduate from our wonderful program.

Finally, you may have heard back in the fall about our idea to leverage Oxbow's beautiful campus and prime location for the BottleRock music festival on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28 . The idea came to fruition thanks to unanimous approval by the Napa Planning Commission. We will be setting up 16 deluxe safari-style tents for 32 guests who will enjoy private wine tours in the mornings, rock out all afternoon and evening at the festival with 3-day VIP passes, and stay within a stone's throw to the entrance to the festival venue. All of the tents sold out within 24 hours for $10K each which makes this a fantastic fundraiser in support of Oxbow's scholarship fund.

I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and fine spirit, and I look forward to seeing many of you on campus in May.

Warm regards,
Stephen Thomas, Head of School

Around the Bend

3rd Annual Riverside Picnic & Concert

06/20/16

To everyone who joined us for the 3rd Annual Riverside Picnic and Concert on Saturday, June 11 to RAISE THEIR PADDLES in support of The Oxbow School, THANK YOU! The event was once again a wonderful gathering of friends on Oxbow’s stunning campus to enjoy great food and wine, fun live bluegrass music, and we raised over $75,000 in support of deserving Oxbow students. Thanks to the generosity of the community who shares our commitment to student diversity, we are able to provide financial aid and create a school of access for students from a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences.

This event would not have been possible without our sponsors. Their contribution of delicious cuisine, wines and beer made the Riverside Picnic and Concert an event to remember - words cannot express how grateful we are to have the support of these fine Napa and Bay Area purveyors:

Cowgirl Creamery, Don Perico, Downtown Bakery & Creamery, Eight Noodle Shop, govino, Hog Island Oyster Co., Lagunitas Brewing Co., Let's Be Frank Dogs, Model Bakery, Napkins Bar & Grill, Roccia Viva Olive Oil, Silverado Vineyards, Thistle Meats, Zuzu Wood-Fired Paella Co.

Thanks also to our individual sponsors for their generosity in helping to underwrite the event: Ann Hatch, John Sanger and Maria Vella, Ross Levy, Catherine McNamee and Chris Miller, Jeremy Stone and Darren Waterston.

Thank you also to the Benefit Committee: Catherine McNamee, Amy and John Nichols, Katie Wheeler, Patricia Curtan, Mary Bourke, Susan Moodie, Terry Schulken and our event photographer Jason Tucker OS20. A special thanks to faculty and staff volunteers Tracy Bates, Jenny Emanuel, Cinde Cromwell, Patrick Foy, Holly McVeigh and Amy Troutner; and alum volunteer Silas Blunk OS27.

It was so rewarding to see long-time Oxbow supporters rally new Oxbow supporters along with many Oxbow alumni. Thanks to all who attended and the many who donated in absentia.

Stay tuned for a save-the-date for next year’s late spring/early summer event!

Stephen Thomas
Founding Director and Head of School

Around the Bend

Tickets on Sale Now - 3rd Annual Riverside Picnic & Concert

05/09/16

Please join us on June 11th for the 3rd Annual Oxbow Picnic & Concert on the Oxbow lawn with music and great food – it's a fun afternoon by the Napa River. 

Don't miss the live Bluegrass musical performance by Ed Neff and his band, and the fabulous picnic featuring food and drink from some of the Bay Area's finest purveyors. Purchase your tickets now!

Local Sponsers:

Cowgirl Creamery, Don Perico, Downtown Bakery & Creamery, Eight Noodle Shop, govino, Hog Island Oyster Co., Lagunitas Brewing Co., Let's Be Frank Dogs, Model Bakery, Napkins Bar & Grill, Roccia Viva Olive Oil, Silverado Vineyards, Thistle Meats, Zuzu Wood-Fired Paella Co.

Funds raised support Oxbow's scholarship fund. Since the School opened its doors 53% of the more than 1,150 students who have attended the program received some level of scholarship support.

For more information contact, Mary Bourke at 707.255.6000 or mary@oxbowschool.org.

Around the Bend

one for Margrit . . .

04/18/16

Oxbow Friends - Thank you to so many of you who showed up in support of both Oxbow and Margrit Mondavi, one of Oxbow's founders on April 16th at the Robert Mondavi Winery - it was a spectacular evening in every way; the weather couldn't have been nicer or the setting more beautiful. The event was sold out with many family members and long-time friends of Margrit, and a sizable group of devoted friends of Oxbow; and best of all, thanks to Margrit's generosity and foresight for collecting many works by visiting artists to the winery over a 40 year period-all of which were auctioned off that evening-Oxbow was the recipient of the proceeds from the event. Truly a win-win for all involved!

As you may have heard by now, two very generous Oxbow trustees have recently offered to underwrite the alumni event scheduled for next Tuesday, April 26th at The NWBLK gallery in San Francisco at 1999 Bryant Street from 6:30-9:00pm. We hope to see many of your smiling faces for what is sure to be a splendid gathering of Oxbow fans. Esteemed alumnae Daisy Linden OS10 and Jordan Felling OS5, are planning a spirited evening based on one of the most popular Oxbow School activities, The Fortune Cookie Project!

Last week, alumna Caroline Woolard OS4 spoke to students and other members of the Oxbow community at the CIA theater nearby about her practice, development and execution of ideas. Students in particular were entranced by her focus and commitment, and asked a barrage of questions as they grapple with their own pending Final Project.

On campus as I type, OS34 students are well underway with research for their projects;the ideas being discussed are truly inspiring and reflect the artistic and intellectual spirit of this particular cohort. The Final Show and Open House for the students of OS34 will be held on campus May 14 and 15 from 1-3pm. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Please join me in welcoming Oxbow's newest staff member, Mary Bourke, who has taken on the role of Director of Development. Mary is enjoying getting to know the School, so please do introduce yourself when you see her on campus or at Oxbow events.

Finally, please save June 11th for our Annual Picnic Benefit. Bring your family and/or friends as we celebrate yet another extraordinary year at Oxbow. More details to follow.

Stephen Thomas

Founding Director and Head of School

A School Like No Other

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