Highlights: Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency
Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency
by Holly Bresnahan (MA 2014)
Established by SAIC faculty in 1910, Ox-Bow offered its founders the opportunity for intense focus and a community of support on its secluded 115 acres, located approximately 150 mi les from Chicago near Saugatuck, Michigan. Today, more than 500 artists, including SAIC students, faculty, and alumni travel to the Ox-Bow campus every year. They join a community of national and international artists to study, teach, and make art during the summer and winter seasons.We talked to a few them:
Elizabeth Chodos ((Dual MA 2008), Ox-Bow Executive Director
Things at Ox-Bow are a little lower to the ground. We see this as a nice complement to the SAIC experience, which is one of a vast community, spread throughout an entire city and built environment. Ox-Bow offers students a close-knit community and the incredible sense of camaraderie that comes with living and working together in a natural landscape. If you change your community and your environment, you change the way you think about things and the way you work.
Olivia Blanchard (BFA 2014)
I took an art history class called "Party as Form" taught by Shannon Stratton of threewalls. We were split into five small groups and each conducted a smaller party, including a sleepover, a ritual cleansing, a children's birthday party, and an Odyssey-themed scavenger hunt. The class epitomizes life at Ox-Bow: you work really hard, but also reap the benefits really hard, whether expanding your practice, or connecting with a new group of creative people. The staff works hard to build an environment where students can enjoy the natural environment while producing the best work that they possibly can.
Judie Anderson (BFA 1960)
My first experience at Ox-Bow was in 1957. I decided to take a painting course taught by LeRoy Neiman, which changed the course of my life. He not only became my instructor when I returned to SAIC, but he also became my mentor and my friend. I was astounded by my time at Ox-Bow. The atmosphere was inspiring and I was delighted to be surrounded by so many creatives of all ages. When I went back this summer, I wondered if everything would be the same. The minute I drove up the driveway, I knew it was. I was thrilled to see that the true flavor of Ox-Bow had been kept, that there was still that same magic about the lagoon, the woods, and the people. I'll be back again, that's all I can say.
Ariel Fang (BFA 2014), Administrative Director at the Student Union Galleries
At Ox-Bow you have the opportunity to experiment with things that you normally wouldn't have access to. This is especially true in terms of ceramics; I was able to learn techniques that can't be done in Chicago because of strict city codes and I was able to work outdoors, which is incredibly scenic and inspiring.
Moe Beitiks (MFA 2013), Ox-Bow Fellow Summer 2013
This summer, I asked Ox-Bow staff and Fellows to describe their favorite television and movies scenes. I re-created their descriptions in the Ox-Bow landscape, regarding the site and non-humans within to be co-performers in the work. It's very much a project that is site-specific. I'm looking to harness the nostalgia and affection we have toward media and movies and redirect it—inserting nature into a cultural dialogue where it is not always present. All of this has been mediated by the experience of slowing down after grad school, hanging out with friends, taking the canoes out to the beach, hiking up to the crow's nest to watch the sun set, and in general seeking balance in this never-ending seesaw of art and life.
Learn more at ox-bow.org