Introducing the Oxbow Summer Art Institute


Modelled after the semester program, students who participate in the Oxbow Summer Art Institute will have the opportunity to have the social, intellectual, and art experience that Oxbow is so well known for! The immersive visual arts residency program invites young artists to engage a creative course of studio practice rooted in deep intellectual inquiry. In partnership with working artists, students will create work towards an art portfolio and conclude the program with a capstone final project. Participating artists have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make art in our well-equipped studios among like-minded peers overlooking the Napa River. Students work in a variety of media spanning: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and animation. In addition to extensive art-making, students have opportunities to explore the sublime landscape that defines Northern California. They also have access to contemporary work on exhibition at local museums and galleries around the Bay Area.

This 6-week summer-term is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as those taking a gap year after high school. Students will receive an entire year’s worth of studio art credit with an official high school transcript from Oxbow. This unique residency program is grounded in the philosophy that there is no limit to what adolescents can create when provided an open-minded environment with high-level instruction, personal and collective accountability, and support. They return home having developed their art practice and sense of self.

The Oxbow School 2022 Summer Art Institute is now fully enrolled.

Applications for the 2023 Summer Art Institute will open September 1st with an early priority date of January 1, 2023.

Please contact with any questions!


June 18th - July 31st, 2022

(6-week intensive)


$16,000 - Includes room and board, activities, and all supplies needed. Limited scholarships are available, please contact the admissions team for more information at

Available Media

Students work in a variety of media of their choosing, such as:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Fabrication & Installation
  • Animation & Video

At Oxbow, teens’ creativity is nurtured and explored. Students come away from the program inspired by what they've seen and learned. They develop enhanced art skills, life-long friendships, and personally significant artwork.

Summer 2022 Core Courses

Painting. Students will explore painting as both a visual language with infinite communicative possibilities and a medium which lends itself to constant innovation. Experimentation and curiosity will guide the studio time as students investigate the expressive potential of paint and color, broaden their technical knowledge, and develop a sustainable studio practice. Students will complete three projects during the course. The first project focuses on instinct and immediacy and will involve making a series of speed paintings. The second project, informed by Gerhard Richter’s overpainted photographs, will challenge students to think critically and creatively when it comes to formal problem-solving. For the third project, students will complete an open-ended painting that incorporates the skills and knowledge they have gained. While class lectures and slideshows will focus largely on post-1980 art, students will also study key technological developments and ideological movements that have come to define painting as we know it today. Students will become familiar with a wide array of artists who demonstrate paint’s immense material capacity and embody a range of approaches to art-making. These artists include Joan Mitchell, Jack Whitten, Jennifer Packer, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Anselm Kiefer, Lucian Freud, Julie Mehretu, and Noah Davis. Class discussions will challenge students’ preconceived notions on what art can be and what makes it “good,” as well as facilitate an ongoing discourse about why we make things and why it matters. Students will emerge with a working knowledge of the primary concepts and concerns that inform contemporary art; a greater ability to think critically and speak thoughtfully about their own work and the work of others; and the skills/tools to maintain their artistic practice independently after leaving Oxbow. (Instructor: Emelia Gertner)

New Media. In this intensive, students will dive into their relationship with digital tools and spaces, and explore the boundaries shared by cultural codes and individual meaning and expression. They will also engage with the concepts of representational reality, authenticity and originality, as well as explore the relationships of digital/virtual expressions of reality with that of the sensory and physical. Students will generate work through experimental graphic design, image manipulation and animation. Utilizing processes from both analog and digital methods, students will build and remix images day by day, resulting in a collection of iterative experimentation. By the end of the week, students will have gained footing in working with digital images, collage, sequences and moving images such as GIFs and movie clips, finally culminating their ideas in a physical zine with a digital component. (Instructor: Melody Yenn)

Printmaking. How can the creation of multiples be used to make artwork more widely accessible to the masses? How can we utilize printmaking methods to spread messages and amplify ideas we believe are worth spreading? In this course, students will draw inspiration from artists such as Jenny Holzer, Elizabeth Catlett, Delita Martin, Benjie Torrado Cabrera, and Roy Lichtenstein. Students will learn about a range of printmaking methods – monotypes, linoleum relief prints, cyanotypes, natural dye anthotypes, scanning and image transfers, and copperplate etchings. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with ink mixing and color creation as well as how to use a press. Students will be challenged to print on unconventional surfaces and learn the importance of sketching and journaling while planning their artwork. Assignments will: 1. encourage students to combine print methods and mixed media to find their niche within the broad category of printmaking; and 2. emphasize the importance of play and repurposing prints to push the limits of their artistic practice. (Instructor: Lu Gold)

Sculpture. This course introduces basic sculptural techniques, such as carving, casting, and modeling with an emphasis on understanding form, line, shape, and composition. Plaster, clay, and wood will be utilized to help students understand the form and content of figurative sculpture. Students will examine their relationship with objects and the value placed on them and, using the human body, explore the perception of one’s self. Students will discuss current events and self-reflective subject matter to gain a better perspective of our collective to work towards building an open and transparent community. Students will also have an opportunity to share and strengthen their work through group critique sessions. While students will have an opportunity to study the work of realism artists such as Auguste Rodin and contemporary artists such as Titus Kaphar, they will ultimately draw from their own life experiences and apply their individual marks to make a figure-based sculpture. (Instructor: Dyymond Whipper-Young)


Who is eligible to attend? Rising sophomores, juniors, seniors and post-grad students are welcome to attend the Oxbow Summer Art Institute.

I have heard a lot about the “Final Project.” Will there still be a final show? Yes! All students will have an opportunity to pursue a topic in depth working in a medium of their choice at the conclusion of the program. Students will collaborate with the faculty to execute their vision and install the work in a gallery style format.

How do I apply for the Summer Art Institute? All interested students will complete Part One of our application and designate Summer in the selected field. As part of our Summer application, we require a Student Questionnaire, Parent Statement, and a Self Portrait in any medium material or style. We have limited scholarships available for this program.

Can you describe what a typical Summer day will look like? We strive to include simplicity, mindfulness, and intentionality into our everyday practice. This isn’t typical school. Let’s celebrate the fact that it’s summer and summers are meant to be fun! While you will receive inspiring, innovative, and challenging instruction from experienced faculty, we value the time that comes from sleeping in, lounging on the lawn to read a good book, or heading into the woods for a day-long hike.

A day in the life of a Summer Oxbow student might look like:

  • 9:00am Breakfast
  • 10:00am Meet in small groups for elective programming
  • 12:30pm Lunch together on the back deck
  • 1:30pm Art in the studios
  • 5:00pm Break
  • 6:30pm Dinner together on the back deck
  • 7:30pm Open studio time or scheduled events
  • 10:00pm Dorm checks