Back in the day, the only school “fundraiser” I remember participating in was hawking holiday cards at my neighbors’ doors in Kansas City, Missouri.
Each re-usable box contained a set of 12, not particularly artistic or enticing greeting cards. My sales would surely have increased had the product originated from one of KC’s proudest business icons — Hallmark Cards. No such luck.
Today, annual fundraisers cooked up by friends, parents and donor groups — for both public and private schools — are standard fare necessary to help close a financial gap and meet bottom-line expenses. From crab feeds to chic galas, from silent auctions to culinary experiences, there’s one type of fundraiser I find hard to resist: sales of objet d’art!
That’s what you’ll discover at “Napa Makes,” a one-day, art shop debuting Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its beneficiary, The Oxbow School, 530 Third St. in Napa. Profits will be earmarked for the Stephen Thomas Scholarship Fund. Admission is free, family and dog-friendly.
“Napa Makes” is the brainstorm of local friends Liz Murray, Emma K. Morris and Jordan Felling. All three women have hands-on, “artsy” backgrounds and connections with Bay Area artisans who craft one-of-a-kind items.
For example, included among the 20 vendors — to be located in Oxbow studios — cutting-edge fashions from designer Yolotli Studio, hand-crafted timepieces by Bespoke Watch Projects, and letterpress items from Shipwright & Co.
Bites and beverages will also be offered. I’m looking to trying a Paulie’s Bagel, a dumpling from the pop-up, Houtskool and a cup of spicy Chico Chai from Ritual Coffee Roasters.
Daytime shopping will be followed by a family-style dinner. Special guest chef Melissa Fernandez will share her farm to table menu, complemented by all-star Napa wine partners including Poe Wines, Massican, Farella, Revik and Ashes & Diamonds. (For dinner ticket information, visit http://www.thepollinatebrand.com/napa-makes.)
Other arts nonprofits flaunt their programs and accomplishments with bullhorns, but Oxbow School prefers a more-low key approach. Many local residents drive by the Third Street campus on a regular basis not realizing it’s a school with a national and international reputation — one of the best accredited, honors level and college prep programs available to high school students interested in the visual arts.
Founded in 1998 by Ann Hatch, and Robert and Margrit Mondavi, Oxbow School is a private, independent nonprofit. High school juniors, seniors and gap-year students from throughout the U.S. “live in” spending one intensive semester focusing on studio art making and interdisciplinary humanities. Classes each fall and spring accommodate 48 students, half of whom receive financial aid. During Oxbow’s 19 years, more than 140 renowned, professional artists have worked closely with students and donated items to the scholarship fund.
“Napa Makes” organizer Jordan Felling attended Oxbow School in 2001 (on scholarship) and later served for six years as admissions director. “One semester literally changed my life,” she said. “I knew I was an artist. Above all, I learned how to talk ideas, how to problem solve, how to be an active listener and how to say ‘YES.’”
During a busy “Arts in April” month, be sure to add “Napa Makes” to your must-attend calendar. I’ll see you there and promise not to try to sell you calendars, chocolate bars or greeting cards!