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June 18, 2007

River runs near it

-SWELLS-

River runs near it

by: Catherine Bigelow - June 17, 2007

"This is such an amazing school," declared artist Chris Brown, the honoree at the Oxbow School's Artful Life Gala. "I wish I could have gone here when I was 17 -- I could have been a good artist!"

We thinks the talented artist is painting it on a bit thick. But he's right about the Oxbow School. Set upon a verdant hill just above an oxbow bend in the Napa River, the interdisciplinary, semeste rlong arts program for high school students could certainly inspire budding artists to achieve greater heights.

"The main thing for our students is they receive an important preview of college," said Oxbow Director Stephen Thomas. "Many are away from home for the first time and in completing our rigorous program, without their parents' help, are empowered."

Founded in 1997 by Robert and Margrit Mondavi and Ann Hatch, the one-of-a-kind institution (designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects Inc.) serves about 45 students a semester from around the country. And, as almost half the student body attends on full scholarship, school supporters started this art auction and spring gala five years ago.

"I grew up around art and always felt inspired by art," said Margrit Mondavi. "To see what it does for children -- how it can change their life -- what more is there than that?"

The graceful gathering of about 100 guests agreed -- as they raised $245K during the live art auction, which was led by the enthusiastic and cajoling auctioneer Fritz Hatton.

A sumptuous supper created by chef Jennifer Sherman and Chez Panisse (a family-style feast of early summer vegetable soup au pistou, grilled Liberty duck breast, new potatoes, white wine braised leeks and artichokes) was served under the trees.
Hatch found the site, which comprises about 3 acres in an area once known as Dogpatch. The property also includes historic Victorian buildings that once housed the valley's early Italian residents.

"Oxbow describes a natural phenomenon where a river comes in and turns back upon itself," said Hatch. "I think that image also perfectly reflects our school. You have 16- and 17-year-olds who receive a jolt of being taken seriously at Oxbow -- allowing them to turn back into themselves and open themselves up to their potential."

Editor’s Note: For additional information contact Pam Hunter- 707-258-1699 x 15 or Pamela@studio-707.com
[Posted:6/18/2007]

Posted by Pamela at June 18, 2007 2:34 PM| Share on Facebook | Art Education, Non-wine activities in Napa Valley, Oxbow School

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