Oxbow School show touts work of teen artists

2012-12-17T18:09:00Z 2012-12-20T10:20:21Z Oxbow School show touts work of teen artistsKERANA TODOROV Napa Valley Register
December 17, 2012 6:09 pm  • 

As he assessed his 15-year-old daughter’s mixed-media photographs at the Oxbow School in Napa on Saturday, Carlos Bibiano of the Bronx, New York City, was very pleased.

“I like it,” said Bibiano, a chef who supports his daughter Jennifer’s hopes of becoming a photojournalist.

Jennifer’s photographs of people walking on Wall Street explored class discrimination, or classism. Hers was among two dozen art projects shown during the open house that marked the end of semester at the Oxbow School.

The coeducational boarding school, founded in 1998, offers a one-semester interdisciplinary fine arts program to high school students.

Other projects shown over the weekend touched upon diverse themes — dreams, prostitution, the influence of advertising on girls. One work explored one of the teenage shooters involved in the Columbine shootings in April 1999 in Littleton, Colo.

Megan Keane, a filmmaker from Oakland, found the students’ art gorgeous.

“The depth of the emotions the artists are pulling from is really impressive,” she said.

Some students said they planned to study art after high school, though others said they were not so sure.

School Director Stephen Thomas, who also teaches printmaking, said roughly one-third of the students pursue art after high school. But no matter what they do, the school founders’ idea was that the students would continue to support the arts. The school recommends the students pursue a good, solid education, he said.

Karla Partida-Ortega, 18, of St. Helena, the only Napa County resident among the 32 students attending the school this semester, said she may attend Napa Valley College while she figures out exactly what she wants to do next.

Partida-Ortega said she came to the Oxbow School because she loves art.

“I wanted to experience something new,” she said.

Students said they made lifelong friends during their semester at the Third Street school.

Jennifer Bibiano, who is returning to her high school in New York, said she enjoyed her stay in Napa. So did fellow New Yorker Adrianna Housman, 16, of Staten Island, as she presented her project, a mixed-media collage meant to recreate childhood dreams.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever stayed in a small town,” said Housman, who commutes more than an hour and a half by ferry and subway to go to her school in Brooklyn. “But I liked it.”

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